Practice question

Debunking myths: how much air in an IV line is too much?

Is it true that ‘a little air won't cause harm’? The second article in our series looks at the evidence and provides advice
Picture shows a child lying in a hospital bed with an IV line attached to her arm

Is it true that ‘a little air in an intravenous line won't cause harm’? The second article in our series looks at the evidence and provides advice

As nurses we are vigilant to remove air bubbles from patients’ intravenous (IV) lines, yet we have probably also all heard that ‘a little air won’t cause harm’. Is this true or is it a myth?

How much air in an IV line is okay and how much could potentially cause harm? This article will debunk the myth and help you practise with confidence.

This question is not one that can be answered easily. To say it would be unethical to inject air into people and see how much was required to cause harm is an understatement. Initial studies that sought to answer how much air was unsafe used animals – which still raises

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