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
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.