Subcutaneous injections are generally done in an area that has sufficient subcutaneous fat. The most common injection sites are the abdomen, back of the upper arm, front of the thigh, or lower lack/"love handle" area. If someone needs frequent SC injections (like an insulin-dependent diabetic), they can rotate which site they use.
Heparin injections are commonly given to patients in hospital to prevent blood clots, in any patients are are not able to get up and walk as much as usual. After I had abdominal surgery, I was in the hospital for several days and I had heparin injections daily, most of them in my upper arm (I have plenty of fat there).
As a nursing student myself, I prefer to give heparin injections to patients in the abdomen, as (anecdotally) I've had patients say the injection stings less going into the abdomen than the arm. Also, patients that have less fat on their arms usually have enough on their abdomen.
Also, I try to avoid giving heparin in the arm if the patients needs their blood pressure measured frequently. I know someone who had surgery a few years ago, and the nurse gave the heparin injection in the upper arm and then put on a blood pressure cuff that was automatically checking the blood pressure at frequent intervals. Ended up with a huge bruise covering the whole back of the upper arm. Anticoagulant = localized bruising, usually not much, but a little common sense by the nurse would have been appreciated.
Last edited by Waenara; 09-04-2011 at 10:46 PM..