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How to give a heparin shot

DVT - heparin shot; Deep venous thrombosis - heparin shot; PE - heparin shot; Pulmonary embolism - heparin shot; Blood thinner - heparin shot; Anticoagulant - heparin shot


Your health care provider prescribed a blood thinning medicine called heparin. It has to be given as a shot at home.

A nurse or other health professional will teach you how to prepare the medicine and give the shot. They will watch you practice and answer your questions. You may take notes to remember the details. Keep this sheet as a reminder of what you need to do.

Getting Ready

To get prepared:

Filling the Syringe

Follow these steps to fill the syringe with heparin:

Giving the Shot

Wash your hands with soap and water. Dry them well.

Choose where to give the shot. Keep a chart of places you have used, so you do not put the heparin in the same place all the time. Ask your provider for a chart.

The site you choose for the injection should be clean and dry. If your skin is visibly dirty, clean it with soap and water or use an alcohol wipe. Allow the skin to dry before giving the shot.

The heparin needs to go into the fat layer under the skin.

After all the medicine is in, leave the needle in for 5 seconds. Pull the needle out at the same angle it went in. Put the syringe down and press the shot site with a piece of gauze for a few seconds. Do not rub. If it bleeds or oozes, hold it longer.

Throw away the needle and syringe in a safe hard container (sharps container). Close the container, and keep it safely away from children and animals. Never reuse needles or syringes.

Write down the date, time, and place on the body where you put the injection.

Storing Your Heparin and Supplies

Ask your pharmacist how to store your heparin so it stays potent.


Smith SF, Duell DJ, Martin BC, Aebersold M, Gonzalez L. Medication administration. In: Smith SF, Duell DJ, Martin BC, Aebersold M, Gonzalez L, eds. Clinical Nursing Skills: Basic to Advanced Skills. 9th ed. Hoboken, NJ: Pearson; 2017:chap 18.


Review Date: 7/21/2022  

Reviewed By: Frank D. Brodkey, MD, FCCM, Associate Professor, Section of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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