INITIATING A SALINE LOCK AND INTRAVENOUS INFUSION
Initiate a saline lock and intravenous infusion.
Given a simulated casualty and supplies from a combat lifesaver aid bag.
Score a GO on the performance checklist.
One of the most important tasks of the combat lifesaver is to control hypovolemic
shock. Hypovolemic shock is caused by a decrease in the volume of blood in the
casualty's circulatory system. It is usually caused by serious bleeding, such as from a
cut artery on an extremity or amputation. Hypovolemic shock can also result from
internal bleeding (such as bleeding into the abdominal cavity from a blow to the
abdomen), severe burns, or dehydration due to severe vomiting, diarrhea, or profuse
sweating. On the battlefield, preventing hypovolemic shock is usually accomplished by
controlling bleeding (thus preventing additional blood loss) and by increasing the fluid in
the circulatory system by adding fluids intravenously (intravenous infusion). Often, the
intravenous infusion is referred to simply as an "IV" .
a. Saline Lock Before an Intravenous. Even if the casualty does not require
intravenous fluids immediately, he may later on. The longer you wait, the more difficult
it will be to establish an intravenous infusion. (It becomes difficult to insert a catheter
into the casualty's vein.) For this reason, you should establish a saline lock. Basically,
a saline lock is like the first part of initiating an intravenous infusion. A catheter is
inserted into the vein, but fluids are not passed through the catheter into the vein. It is
basically an IV in waiting. The IV can quickly be established once the saline lock is in
b. Saline Lock After an Intravenous. If an IV has been established without a
saline lock, a saline lock can be established once the IV is discontinued. This is done to
keep the catheter in the vein for future use.