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Interventional Radiology

Venous Access

what is venous access?

Doctors often recommend central venous access catheters (CVAC) for patients who regularly have:

  • Chemotherapy treatments
  • Infusion of antibiotics or other medications
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Hemodialysis

A CVAC is a tube that is inserted beneath your skin so there is a simple, pain free way for doctors or nurses to draw your blood or give you medications or nutrients. When you have a CVAC, you are spared the irritation and discomfort of repeated needle sticks. There are several types of CVACs, including tunneled catheters, peripherally inserted central catheters (also called PICC lines), dialysis catheters, and implantable ports (also called portacaths).


How Should I prepare?

  • You should continue medications prescribed by your doctor unless informed otherwise.
  • Women should always inform their technologist if there is any possibility of pregnancy.

If you require sedation for your procedure, observe the following instructions:

  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the day before the exam.
  • Take all your usual medications including blood pressure and heart medications.
  • You may have a small sip of water to swallow your medications.
  • If your procedure is scheduled for 10:30a.m. or later, you may have a clear liquid breakfast. This includes coffee, water, and juices you can see through, but no solid food.
  • Transportation: Be sure to make arrangements for someone to drive you home after your procedure. If you receive sedation, please do not operate machinery or vehicle for 24hrs following procedure.

Special instructions for diabetic patients:

  • Light breakfast
  • Half of insulin dose
  • If you take Glucophage, do not take medication day of procedure

what should I expect?

During the exam you will lie on an x -ray procedure table. Your nurse will start an IV to administer sedation medications and/or antibiotics. The radiologist will administer local anesthetic to the catheter insertion site. The catheter site will be surgically prepped and a sterile drape will cover your entire body with the exception of your facial area. Remaining still is very important in order to obtain clear images.

When procedure is completed, the surgical team will help you off the table. You will be in recovery for approximately one to two hours. Your exam will take about 30 minutes to an hour. The nurse will provide you with written instructions regarding the care of your device.

How do I get the results?

After your study is over, the images will be evaluated by one of our board-certified Radiologists with expertise in Interventional Radiology. A final report will be sent to your doctor, who can then discuss the results with you in detail. Should you have any questions regarding your procedure, we will be happy to discuss them with you.

Service Locations

Venous Access is available at El Camino Imaging Center, X-Ray Associates at Farmington and X-Ray Associates at Santa Fe.