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Maintaining your child's IV


Most patients at St. Jude receive medicines through their veins. A doctor or nurse puts a small tube called an IV into a vein. The medicine goes in through this tube.

The information below tells you how St. Jude staff maintains, or takes care of, your child’s IV in the hospital. You will also find information on how to maintain an IV at home.

Maintaining an IV in the hospital

St. Jude staff wants to keep your child’s IV securely in place. They also want to keep it free from infection. So they will do the following things in the hospital:

  • Put a dressing (bandage) or other protection on the IV area.
  • Change the IV pump tubing regularly – How often depends on how the IV is used.
  • Clean the IV ports (openings) and connectors before working with the IV tube or line.
  • Flush (rinse) the IV with saline or heparin solution when needed if your child is not using it. They will also flush the IV before and after they work with it.

Checking for IV problems

While your child is in the hospital, a staff member will check the IV area regularly for:

  • Fluid leaking,
  • Swelling,
  • Redness,
  • Tenderness, and
  • Pain.

Staff will also make sure the bandage holding your child’s IV is secure. They may check to see if they can get blood from the IV.

How long will my child’s IV stay in?

How long your child’s IV stays in place depends on how well it works and how long your child needs it. Every child is different. Ask your child’s doctor or nurse how long they think your child needs an IV.

Maintaining your child’s IV at home

If your child has an IV at home, check it regularly for any of the problems above under “Checking for IV problems.” These include fluid leaking, swelling, redness, tenderness, and pain. If you notice any of these problems, please call your child’s primary clinic. If you are calling after hours or on the weekend, ask for the nursing coordinator or the doctor on call. If you are outside the Memphis area, dial toll-free 1-866-2STJUDE (1-866-278-5833) and press 0 when the call connects.

For more information, read “Do you know… Giving IV fluids at home,” “Do you know… Giving IV medicines at home,” and “Do you know…Flushing a peripheral IV (PIV).”


If you have questions about how the St. Jude staff maintains your child’s IV or how to maintain an IV at home, please ask your child’s doctor or nurse.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).