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difficulties in getting IV access

hi i was admitted into hospital yesterday and as much of a needle phobe i am im a bit concerned that as my veins on my left arm/hand wouldnt take any cannulae or butterfly needles after many attempts the doctors described my veins as blown. on my right side some access was possible but not on my hand but now the cannulae are starting to come out and every 2-3mins due to the awkward angle they have been inserted (the only veins which work) my infusion pumps keep beeping and going on hold not helpful as they contain my aminophylline and salbutamol! ive been told that im going to have to have the cannulas replaced. i have a few questions: can blown veins repair themselvves?and are cannulae in feet suitable? sorry for the length of the post.

8 Replies

Hey simi a blown vein just means they have gone into the vein and come out again, they know if they have blown a vein cause it starts to bruise quickly and swells when flushed.

Smaller cannulas can prevent that happening if the vein is small. Although sometimes not ideal for continuous ivs.They should repair themselves.

Cannulas in your feet are awkward and sometimes painful cause of feet being sensitive but if thats there only option then go for it.


Clare :o)


Thanks clare, that clears alot up :) now just got to try and stay out long enough so that they can repair themselves! ;) xx


Hi Simi

Sorry to hear that one's veins are misbehaving, after many years of abuse mine play up something rotten. Because some areas of my body have been used so much my veins are now badly scarred. Feet can be used, and even though a tad uncomfortable and inconvenient, in an emergency I say go for it if no other options are available.

I am afraid I have an unwritten rule where my veins are concerned, and whoever is going to attempt to cannule me first time, is usaully told first. I allow 2 attempts if that fails then I make them called the aneathist (sorry spelling awful, the knock you out doc, if you don't understand.) I don't know about you but for me the more they try the more upsetting I find it, this in turn makes what few veins available sink lower down making access even more difficult. I just find if I have a spoken understanding with the docs about vein access we both know where we stand, I am a little more relaxed and usually they still have to call the sleep doc to find a site.

Hope your veins are behaving themselves.



If im in a bad way(which i have to admit i rarely go in much before) then 9 times out of 10 then i end up with a femoral or central line as when bad my available veins are non existent . if a dr does get one then it will tissue v quickly. Feet as has been said can be very painful and again for me dont last very well for me.


hi simi,

Hope you're feeling better. In answer to your question a 'blown vein' is usually one where the venflon inserted has put the needle through the vein, causing a bruise. These veins can heal but aren't usually suitable for use during the same admission. The bruise makes it hard to see and feel the vein!

I'm working as a junior doctor & probably put a fair few in a day. I'dsay firstly try not to worry there are other options both on the acute setting and more long term ones.

If you're poorly the docs WILl get access in. There are always other docs around to

try. There is also options like long lines or picc lines which generally go in by your elbow and usually last a week or two. Or using an ultrasound probe to find a vein.

I do put venflons in feet occasionally but only as a last resort. Possibly because I don't like feet!

Hope all my vague waffling helps,

All the best,



simiiiiiii, dont worry i am exactly like you hate needles have acess problems !! in the past they've tried arms no luck! feet no luck! toes as well, and we ended up in me finger .... ouch !! i no its hard but try and be patient!

I hope things get better soon, and ur out soon ... casue we miss u! xxx


I have occasionally ended up wit them in my feet! Oh and my shin at one stage as a nice juicy vein popped up at the wrong moment to greet a young eager doctor!

Veins do repair. Veins burst because of two things, often both with us lot

1 - the doc sticks it through the other side of the vein

2 - steroids weaken the walls

- this combo makes a mess of our veins.

Also, veins that have been poked often will heal with thicker walls making poking even more dificult - mine are thicker and wobblier in places!

Docs will always get one in, don't be afraid to ask for another more experienced doc. Though I did at one point, but the doc ignored my pleas and stormed off. So we started my s/c at full whack, plus nebs until a nicer doctor could sort it out.



thanks alot for the replies everyone, i'm a bit more reassured now about this hehe didnt have to have any in my feet in the end but they managed to get access on my left hand which was madness as its been impossible on my last 2 admissions! simi x


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