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Venous Access Devices (cont.)

After the Procedure

Pneumothorax/hemothorax: The following symptoms usually develop immediately following placement of a venous access device if pneumothorax or hemothorax has occurred:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Light-headedness
  • Fainting
  • Chest pain, especially when trying to take deep breaths
  • Feeling unable to take a deep breath

Cellulitis

  • Redness of skin around the device
  • Tenderness of skin around the device
  • Spreading area of redness and tenderness

Device infection or sepsis: An infection within the bloodstream may occur without any indication of a skin infection.

  • Fever
  • Shaking chills
  • Vomiting
  • Feeling lethargic or ill (malaise)
  • Light-headedness, fainting

Mechanical problems

  • Inability to pass fluid into the device
  • Inability to draw blood from the device
  • Pain with each attempt to inject into the device

Venous thrombosis: This blood clot of the vein may cause swelling of the arm or red streaking and tenderness of the associated vein.

Endocarditis, an infection of the heart valves, may cause the following:

  • High fevers that come and go
  • Weight loss
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Back pain
  • Tender nodules on the tips of the toes or fingers

A blood-thinning medication (anticoagulant) is started if a blood clot develops. If the clot is very large or the person with a venous access device experiences recurring clots, the device will be removed.

If cellulitis is present, a prescription for antibiotics may be given.

If the intravascular portion of the device is infected, the device will be removed.

If a bloodstream infection (sepsis) is present, the person with the venous access device will be admitted to the hospital to receive IV antibiotics. If the infection is very severe, large amounts of IV fluids and medications may be needed to increase the blood pressure. The device may be removed.

If the device is not working properly, it may be repositioned or replaced. This may involve a minor surgical procedure.

If the device is blocked by a clot, in some cases a substance (such as streptokinase/urokinase) is injected into the device to dissolve the clot.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/21/2014
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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Venous Access Devices:

Venous Access Device - Patient Experience

Do you now or have you ever had a venous access device? Please describe your experience.

Venous Access Device - When to Seek Medical Care

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