What is vascular access procedures?

Vascular Access Procedures

How can you care for yourself after vascular access placement?


  • Talk to your doctor about what activities you can do. You may not be able to do sports or exercises that use the upper body, such as tennis or weight lifting.
  • You may not be able to go swimming. Check with your doctor.

Incision care

  • You may have a dressing over the cut (incision) the doctor made. A dressing helps the cut heal and protects it. Your doctor or nurse will tell you how to take care of this.
  • Keep the dressing clean and dry. If you were given instructions about how to change the dressing at home, follow those instructions carefully.
  • If you have strips of tape on the incision, leave the tape on for a week or until it falls off.
  • Flush the device if your doctor tells you to do so.


  • Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. You will also get instructions about taking any new medicines.
  • If you stopped taking aspirin or some other blood thinner, your doctor will tell you when to start taking it again.

Other instructions

  • Avoid clothing that rubs or pulls on any part of the device.
  • To help prevent infection, take a shower instead of a bath.
  • When you shower, cover the area with waterproof material, such as plastic wrap.

Device precautions

  • If the tubing breaks, follow the instructions your doctor gave you. If you have no instructions, clamp or tie off the tubing. Then see a doctor as soon as possible.
  • Never touch the open end if the cap is off.
  • Never use scissors, knives, pins, or other sharp objects near it.
  • If your device has a clamp, keep it clamped when you aren't using it.
  • Fasten or tape it to your body to prevent pulling or dangling.
  • Avoid bending or crimping it.
  • Always wash your hands before you touch it.

After your venous access placement: Overview

You have had a procedure to give you an access device. You will now be able to get medicine, blood, nutrients, or other fluids with more comfort. You won't have to be poked by a needle every time. For some people, blood for lab tests can be drawn from the access device.

You will have an incision. It will leave a scar that fades with time. The site may be sore for a day or two. You may need to take 1 or 2 days off from work. You may have this access device for weeks or months.

How is an arterial line inserted?

  • A needle is used to put the arterial line in. First, the area where the needle will go in is cleaned.
  • An ultrasound may be used to help guide the needle into the artery.
  • When the arterial line is in, it may be held in place with a stitch. You will see a bandage taped to your skin to help hold the line in place.
  • Your wrist will be taped to a soft board to keep you from bending it.

Having a needle put into an artery is more painful than having it put into a vein. That's because the arteries are deeper and are near nerves. If you are awake at the time, your medical team will use medicine to numb the area first. Any mild discomfort usually gets better after the line is in place.

There are a few risks to having an arterial line put in. These risks include infections, bleeding, damage to the artery, and blood clots. ICU teams check the line regularly to help prevent these problems.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.