Vascular Access

About the Vascular Access Procedure

Vascular access is similar to an IV that is inserted beneath your skin to supply a simple, pain-free way to receive nourishment, blood, antibiotics and fluids. Vascular access spares you the irritation and discomfort of repeated needle injections. There are several types of access, including peripherally inserted PICC lines; Hickman or Broviac catheters, which are tunneled catheters; dialysis catheters; and implantable ports. Your doctor will determine which type is best for you.

How To Prepare For Vascular Access:
If you are already a patient in the hospital, your nurse will give you instructions.

If you are being admitted to the hospital on the morning of your procedure, you should follow these instructions:

  • Please do not eat for six hours before your procedure
  • You may continue to take your medication; if you are a diabetic and take insulin, check with your doctor about modifying your dose
  • If you are taking a blood thinner such as Coumadin, you should ask your doctor about stopping this medication
  • Bring a list of all of your medications with you
  • Pre-register in the Ambulatory Care Center prior to coming to the hospital by calling 732-776-4800
  • Please bring a friend or family member with you to drive you home
  • Do not bring any valuables

During Your Vascular Access Procedure:
A vascular access procedure is performed in the Radiology Department using x-ray equipment. The skin is first numbed and washed with a Betadine solution, as this is a sterile procedure.

After Your Vascular Access Procedure:

To avoid infections after your vascular access procedure:

  • Keep the skin around the catheter dry. Do not shower until the incision is healed, which usually takes 72 hours. Do not submerge the catheter in a bathtub or swimming pool. Cover the site with plastic to prevent the area from getting wet
  • Keep the area around the catheter clean. Cleanse the skin with clean gauze and dry carefully. Always wash your hands before touching the area
  • It’s a good idea to keep the skin covered with a clean band-aid or dressing. Change it if it gets wet.

You should call your doctor immediately if:

  • Your catheter becomes dislodged or broken
  • Your stitches become loose
  • Your catheter leaks
  • The process of flushing and injecting causes pain or becomes very difficult

Potential Risks:
This is a safe procedure. The most common issues may be infections, blockage of the catheter or clotting of the catheter with blood.

Signs of infection include redness, soreness and swelling of the skin around the catheter as well as fever. Notify your doctor if you notice any of these signs.

Sometimes despite the best care, the catheter becomes blocked. To reduce the risk, flush your catheter with heparinized saline after each use. You will receive specific instructions for the care of your catheter at the time of insertion.

Care Locations

  • Jersey Shore University Medical Center, 1945 Route 33, Neptune, NJ 07753

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