How to administer heparin injections

Written by vanessa padgalskas
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Heparin is an injectable anticoagulant that thins the blood to help prevent clotting but does not dissolve previously formed clots. Heparin is injected subcutaneously most commonly in the abdomen. Patients who receive heparin injections should avoid getting cut, because they can bleed excessively. Patients should also alert their nurse or doctor if bruising occurs after receiving heparin.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Syringe with hypodermic needle
  • Latex gloves

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  1. 1

    Prepare the medication in the syringe, wash your hands, and put on a pair of latex gloves.

  2. 2

    Tell the patient to lie down, and assess the abdominal area. You must avoid injecting heparin near bruised areas. The injection site must be at least 2 inches from the belly button and any scar.

  3. 3

    Cleanse the injection site with an alcohol pad. Do not rub the alcohol pad on the skin.

  4. 4

    Place your thumb and forefinger 3 inches apart around the injection site, then pinch your fingers together to create a thick fold in the skin. Do not pinch a small area, because you could cause bruising.

  5. 5

    Tell your patient to take a deep breath, and insert the needle when the patient inhales. The needle should be inserted at a 90-degree angle into the fold of the skin. Do not move the needle once it is inside the skin.

  6. 6

    Inject the heparin slowly.

  7. 7

    Let go of the skin, and pull the needle straight out once you are finished injecting the heparin. Hold an alcohol pad on the site for a few minutes to prevent bleeding. Do not rub the alcohol pad on the skin.

  8. 8

    Dispose of the needle in a medical sharps container, then remove your gloves, and wash your hands.

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