Vascular Access Procedures
What is it?
When a patient needs to have blood drawn or medication delivered frequently for a long period of time, vascular access procedures are performed to insert a catheter into a blood vessel. The catheter can stay for weeks or years to be easily accessed.
What is for?
- Blood transfusions
- I.V. treatments
- For patients with difficulty receiving I.V. treatments
- Medicine delivery
- Repeated blood draws
- When there is a need for long-term access to the blood stream
How to prepare
- Discuss your medical history with your health care provider
- Talk with your health care provider about medications you are taking and any allergies you may have
- You will be given instructions about what to eat and drink prior to the procedure
- Bleeding from vein or artery damage
- Disturbance in heart rhythm
What happens during?
- X-ray or ultrasound imaging is used to determine placement of the catheter
- The catheter insertion site is numbed with an anesthetic and an incision is made
- The catheter tip is inserted in a large vein so blood can be reached easily and repeatedly without puncturing the skin
What happens after?
- Prior to discharge from the hospital, you will be instructed on how to keep the catheter insertion site clean and dry
- You can usually resume normal activities after several days
- You should avoid lifting heavy objects for several days following the procedure
- Bleeding, fluid leakage, swelling, tenderness or warmth at the catheter site
- Breathing difficulty
- Chest pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Swelling in the head, neck, shoulder or arm