Clotted lines

What do you look for to determine that there is clotting in your lines/dialyzer and blood should not be returned?

What causes clotted lines?

The color of the blood in the lines and dialyzer is darker than normal (almost black) when there is clotting. Clotting can occur when there is not enough anticoagulant (heparin) in the blood or if the machine stops pumping the blood through the lines allowing blood to pool there. This is why when the machine stops pumping it is important to follow the procedure to hand crank the machine while deciding whether to continue or discontinue dialysis.

If blood has clotted and you can’t return it, the patient will only lose 1 cup of blood – the most that is out of a dialysis patient at any one time during dialysis.

I understand, but what I’m asking is, how many minutes does one have before the blood is too dark to return and are there any other steps to take to make a determination to not return the blood and end the tx?

NxStage locks you out after the machine is stopped for 4 minutes… that is about all I know at this time about clotting. I hope that is all I ever know about clotting. :evil:

I read where another patient said the NxStage locks up if the alarm isn’t solved due to clotting. I guess this is a good safety feature. Does anyone know if other model machines have this feature?

Can anyone explain the steps to take if clotting is suspected in the lines or in the filter? With only 4 minutes to find it and resolve, I would think there are very definite procedures.

Also, what are the causes for clotting?

Too little heparin for one thing maybe forgetting the initial heparin bolus pretreatment or changing treatment length without changing bolus amount or a heparin pump error.

If air gets in the circuit does that cause clotting?