When using an Iloprost infusion given into the vein, sometimes there is difficulty in finding the veins. Here are some suggestions to making the vein more visible:
Make sure the tourniquet has been applied properly. Applying a tourniquet increases the amount of blood in the vein to make them stand out more. The tourniquet should not be so tight that it cuts off the circulation.
- The tourniquet should be put on the arm about four inches above the vein.
- A blood pressure cuff that is inflated to 40–60 mm Hg also works well.
Put a warm pack or water bottle over the area. Warmth will make the veins dilate and expand, making them easier to see.
Use proper palpation techniques. Contrary to popular culture, palpate the arm, rather than slapping it. Slapping the skin is poor technique that may result in a hematoma. Use your index finger to look for a vein, which feels soft and spongy. Don't use your thumb, as it contains its own pulse.
- The warm pack or water bottle should be put on the area before it is disinfected. Nothing more should touch the area after it is disinfected.
- Do not apply the warm pack or water bottle directly to the skin. Wrap it in a thin towel to prevent burns. If it hurts, it is too hot.
Vein Finding Technology
This new technology called a Vein Vue enables nurses to find a vein before inserting a needle. The Vein Vue works by shining an infrared light on the area, observing it with a camera, and projecting the image onto the patient's skin. For many people with scleroderma finding a vein can be troublesome, if you have troublesome veins then ask your nurse or clinician whether they are able to use a vein finding machine to find the veins before inserting needles.
Thanks to Silvio who provided this video of his nurse using the vein finding machine before his Iloprost infusion.
Information by the NCBI.