Saturday, January 3, 2009

Amazing IV technology

On Monday, as a nurse removed my IV line, I noticed all she was removing was a plastic tube - no needle. I asked about it, and she raved about the device: the needle has this catheter around it, and after the IV line is placed, the needle is withdrawn and discarded, leaving just the plastic tube in place.

When this woman first started nursing, they had to leave the needles in: this required tying patient's arms to boards to prevent any motion, which would puncture the vein all the way through. Even with the bound arms, they still had many incidents of veins punctured through both sides, with the IV drip going into the arm tissue. I caught on to the nurse's enthusiasm for the catheters very quickly.

On Wednesday I had another line placed, and commented on how neat I thought the catheters were. This nurse was impressed by a different aspect of the devices: their flexibility means they can be pushed further into the vein than needles. Where the needle goes in is a weak spot; the ability to push the IV fluids in further away from that weak spot greatly reduces the risk of blowing the vein.

I'm ambivalent about a lot of plastics; they leach chemicals that we are only now learning contribute to obesity, PCOS and related disorders, and heart disease. But a plastic that offers that much protection to my veins? I'm all for that.


Jen said...

I love your curiosity and positive mental attitude! Were I in your shoes I might just pout about the potential discomforts of the treatments.

How are you feeling?

Tausign said...

Hope things are going better for you...still launching prayers on your behalf.

P.S. What's this about plastics and obesity? More info please.

lyrl said...

A couple of articles on one of the concerning chemicals in plastics, bisphenol A:
*Plastics chemical linked to heart disease, diabetes
*Popular plastics chemical poses further threat

Another concerning class of plastics-related chemicals is phthalates; they're typically found in soft plastics (while bisphenol A is typically found in hard plastics) but are linked to many of the same health problems.