Venous Access Devices
Facts on Venous Access Devices
Venous access devices that can be implanted under the skin were introduced in 1982. They allow medications to be delivered directly into larger veins, are less likely to clot, and can be left in for long periods. Central venous access devices are small, flexible tubes placed in large veins for people who require frequent access to the bloodstream.
Venous access devices are most often used for the following purposes:
Venous access devices provide several advantages over regular IV lines, which are usually inserted in a small vein in the hand or arm.
During the Venous Access Device Procedure
Central venous access devices are usually inserted in 1 of 3 ways.
A surgeon or surgical assistant in a surgical suite usually inserts central catheters and ports. An alternative is placement under the guidance of a special x-ray machine so that the person inserting the line can make sure that the line is placed properly. A PICC line can be put in at bedside, usually by a specially trained nurse.
Peripherally inserted central venous access devices have increasingly replaced traditional surgically placed central catheters. PICC lines usually cause fewer severe complications than central venous access devices.
IV access, whether by temporary traditional IV line, central catheter, port, or peripheral line such as a PICC, is becoming an important part of health care today.
Last Reviewed 11/20/2017
Mark Horattas, MD
Kathryn L Hale, MS, PA-C
Alan D Forker, MD
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
Jonathan Adler, MD
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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
Did you experience complications related to your venous access device? What was the problem and how was it treated?