Vascular access procedures

Intravenous treatments for a range of conditions

An effective, precise way of delivering drugs directly into the blood stream and taking repeated blood samples

About

Vascular access refers to a group of procedures that use a catheter to deliver drugs intravenously over a period of time. It includes chemotherapy, long-term intravenous feeding, blood transfusions and dialysis. If your consultant needs to take repeated blood samples, they may use the same method.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    You might be offered sedation and you'll be given a local anaesthetic to numb the affected area. Once you're comfortable, your consultant puts a small, hollow tube (catheter) into a vein in your neck, leg or arm and guides it into one of the main veins leading to your heart. They often do an X-ray or ultrasound scan to check that the catheter is in the right place. When they're confident it is, they start your treatment. Exactly what happens next depends on the type of treatment you're having but your consultant will either deliver medication, nutrients or blood into the catheter or use it to take blood.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultants will explain these to you and tell you how to prepare. They may ask you to stop eating and drinking a few hours before your procedure.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    You should be able to go home the same day as your treatment. However, you won't be able to drive so please arrange for someone to take you home. You should rest until the following day and avoid anything strenuous for a few days as the area where the catheter was inserted is likely to be bruised and sore. Depending on the type of treatment you're having, you might keep your catheter in for days, weeks or months. Your consultant will talk to you about how to take care of it.

Paying for medical treatment

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Our facilities

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Request an appointment

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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