Flushing your Groshong or Hickman Line.

Now that your line has been inserted, the nursing staff will show you how to flush it. You will also be given a patient booklet which repeats these instructions. Each lumen or channel of your line must be flushed to clear it of blood which would otherwise clot in the line and cause blockage.

When to flush your line.

The Groshong line does not need to be flushed as often as other lines and in your booklet you will see that it recommends it is flushed once each week. However, there are a number of activities where the pressure inside the chest changes and which may result in blood being sucked into the end of the line. It is important to flush your line whenever these circumstances arise. Examples include:

•  Repeated coughing, straining, constipation or vomiting.

•  Physical activity including gardening, strenuous house keeping and carrying heavy cases or shopping.

•  After sexual activity.

•  After flying in a pressurised aircraft.

If any of these circumstances arise, you should flush each lumen of your line within the next few hours. You should also flush your line if you see blood in the tubing. If in doubt give the line an extra flush. This is in addition to your weekly line flushing.

If you have any questions about these instructions, please discuss them with either the nursing staff or Dr. Bristow. You are welcome to ring the hospital where your line was inserted ( The London Clinic on 020 7935 4444, or The Harley Street Clinic on 020 7935 7700 ) and ask for the Oncology floor at any time.

Dr Aubrey Bristow