Does Anyone Have A Portacath For Their Ra Iv Infusions? Did You Have Any Resists From Your Doctor In Getting One? What Are The Pros And Cons?

Question

Asked by Kathy D.

Does Anyone Have A Portacath For Their Ra Iv Infusions? Did You Have Any Resists From Your Doctor In Getting One? What Are The Pros And Cons?

I have had RA for 14 years and have failed many drugs. The rheumy has now prescribed Orencia, but I have very small, rolling veins. Most of the time the nurses/technicians "blow" my veins, become very frustrated, and leave bruising each time they draw blood. So I think for me to start long-term RA IV treatments, I need some type of help.

Answer

Hi Kathy,

I'm sorry to hear that you have the dreaded "small, rolling veins." Like Lene said, I've had some difficultlies with the nurses who performed my infusion therapies. But I'll admit right now that I have an infusion nurse at my neurologist's office who has never missed a vein yet and she's started at least 7-8 IVs for me. The talent of the nurse makes a huge difference!!

The nurses at the hospital infusion clinic are not as skilled and I'm changing infusion locations because of it. For my last two infusions it took 6 sticks and 9 sticks respectively to get an IV started. That's simply uncomfortable and unacceptable.

Just last week I met an infusion nurse who has a blog. She's written a post regarding the challenge of finding hard-to-find/stick veins. You might find it interesting - http://infusionnurse.org/2009/09/30/pudgy-with-no-chance-of-veins/

Some things which I've found to be helpful were on her list. Certainly talk to your cardiologist first, but if possible try to drink just ONE glass of water extra each day for a week before infusion day. Not a lot extra, just one glass.

Wear warm clothes to try to keep your body temperature up. Cold bodies/arms tend to make blood withdraw to the body core, thus shrinking veins towards the hands. Consider taking a heating pad with you to your next infusion to warm your arm/hand before the nurse tries to start the IV.

Don't be afraid to ask for the VERY BEST nurse to get the IV started. I've learned this lesson the hard way. Pediatric nurses are usually the most skilled because they deal with small veins all the time.

Nurses should definitely TAKE THEIR TIME in locating an appropriate vein. If they can't feel it, then they should patiently keep looking. If you find someone who is in a hurry, stop them and ask them to be cautious because you'll only give them two tries.

Regarding getting the PORT, I'd really give that a lot of thought. It does create an opportunity for infections in your body. I got a bit angry that my last infusions nurses kept suggesting that I get a PORT for only four infusions/year. That is just crazy in my opinion and it is for their convenience.

I hope that your IV goes much better next month. Be sure to speak up for yourself and ask for the most skilled person. Perhaps even say something like "I know that everybody here is good, maybe even really good, but I need your VERY BEST person to get my IV started." If you are at a hospital outpatient infusion center, they may need to call in somebody from another department.

If your experience doesn't get better, then consider receiving your infusions at a different location. This is what I'm doing next month. I'm hoping that I will have a much better experience.

Answered by Lisa Emrich