Venous access allows your physician to deliver medicine directly into your bloodstream without repeatedly puncturing your blood vessels.
In venous access, a long, thin tube, called a catheter, acts as an entryway into your vein. One end of the catheter is placed in a vein, usually in your arm, neck, or chest. The other end exits your body so that your physician can deliver your medicine into your vein by means of the catheter. Sometimes this delivery end may be connected to a circular device called a port under the surface of your skin.
If you need regular injections of medicine over a long period of time, or if you will be receiving strong medicine, venous access can protect your veins. For example, some cancer patients have venous access portals to receive chemotherapy drugs. Physicians also use venous access devices to supply fluids, draw blood, and give blood transfusions.
Another type of venous access is called dialysis access. Dialysis access portals help patients who have kidney problems receive hemodialysis to filter their blood as their kidneys would normally filter it if they were healthy.
We offer convenient placement of long-term venous access in our office, including:
- Tunneled Hickman, Groshong, and dialysis (pheresis) catheters
- Infusion port placement and removal
How do I know if I am a candidate for venous access?
You may be a candidate for a venous access device if you have a condition that requires prolonged access to your venous system and your veins are weak, scarred, or thin. For example, people with cancer often need venous access because chemotherapy drugs can irritate arm veins. People who have a severe infection and need long-term antibiotic treatment may also require venous access.
The type of venous access portal you will need is based on several factors: how long you will need the port, what types of drugs will be used, how often you will receive injections or infusions, and how healthy you are overall. You may actually require different types of venous access portals, from an IV to a port that is inserted into your large chest or neck veins and stays under your skin permanently.