Venous Access

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Venous access is the access to the bloodstream via the veins. 

Venous access is required for 

  • Intravenous (IV) treatment administration such as medication or fluids (blood or rehydrating fluids) and nutrition if required
  • Obtaining repeated venous blood samples 
  • As an access point for blood-based treatments such as dialysis or apheresis. 

– Apheresis involves removing whole blood and separating its individual components to remove one particular component. The remaining blood components are re-inserted into the patient’s bloodstream.

Simple IV drug administration can be given as:

  • An IV infusion where continuous blood levels are required such as antibiotics, antifungals, and pain-inhibiting drugs such as morphine and other opiates
  • A ‘bolus’ of medication over 1–30 mins, however bolus IV administration is infrequently used and often restricted to emergency situations. 
  • By administering a drug intravenously, a first-pass metabolism of the drug, where it is metabolised rapidly after administration is avoided. Therefore, a significantly higher concentration of the drug can reach the systemic circulation, allowing a more immediate effect. 

To help you complete this course, we have created a PDF to be used alongside the course content.

What will you learn in this module?

  • Different types of venous access
  • Long-term central venous catheters (CVCs)
  • Use of CVCs in haematopoietic stem cell transplantation 
  • Standardised procedures for tunnelled CVCs
  • Guidelines for tunnelled central venous catheters 
  • Patient safety and wellbeing

A self-assessment test is included at the end of this module for you to assess your knowledge.

Time to complete this course: 1 hour

Date of publication: June 2021

Reviewed and updated: June 2024


Course Content

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