Infants and small children often require intravenous access for the delivery of critical drugs or treatments. However, the process of placing a peripheral IV can be painful and seem scary, and young children simply do not understand that they must be still during the procedure. To further complicate matters, the child may tear at the IV or attempt to remove it (this may also be true with patients suffering from dementia or other mental disorders), leading to painful and even dangerous movement that can have lasting effects.
Types of Dangerous Complications
As a result of restlessness, fear or frustration with the procedure, vein catheterization in this population can lead to dangerous complications. If the patient consistently pulls at an IV placed in the hand or arm, they may dislodge the IV and suffer from bleeding, bruising, or subcutaneous leakage of IV fluids. In addition, the patient may then not receive needed antibiotics, pain relievers, or other critical medications.
Even if the patient is cooperative, IV placement can still be difficult and time consuming, or even impossible. Small children and infants generally have greater levels of subcutaneous fat than older children or adults, and are prone to vasoconstriction. This makes placing a line problematic, especially in the hands or arms. Veins in infants and young children are also more prone to collapse than those of adults.
How Do Healthcare Professionals Place IVs in Patients of Difficult Populations?
Many healthcare practitioners employ alternative methods of placement to ensure that these patients receive necessary treatment with minimum complications. One popular option is scalp placement of intravenous delivery systems. In infants and children, the veins of the scalp have several advantages over those in the arms. Veins in the scalp tend to be larger and less prone to collapse than those in the hand. In addition, the scalp has minimal subcutaneous fat and most veins lie relatively close to the surface. The skull also lacks a flexible joint, which prevents infant or child movement against the IV. Nerves in the scalp are somewhat more widely spaced and the skin is thinner, making the procedure less painful for the patient. Finally, infants and children tend to ignore IV access through the scalp much more easily than when it is placed in the hand and is constantly in view.
Due to the ease of placement and better outcomes, many healthcare providers choose to use scalp veins for infant IV procedures.
How Can Vein Illumination Help with Scalp Venous Access?
A new technique known as vein illumination has been shown to be far more successful in identifying, isolating, and piercing peripheral veins for IV placement than traditional methods of venipuncture. Vein illumination is done with the use of a device that is lightweight, handheld, and makes no contact with the skin. The procedure is painless and sterile and allows healthcare workers to quickly map out the system of veins beneath the skin, leading to fewer “second sticks” and far fewer vein collapses than traditional methods.
Vein illumination technology is also being used in scalp venous IV placement techniques. The processing of vein illumination is not limited to only arm or hand veins but can also be used to map the veins of the scalp. This allows phlebotomists, doctors, nurses, and others to quickly identify suitable veins for IV placement and to avoid areas that may present a problem for intravenous access. Infants and young children who are being treated via scalp venous access may experience less pain and discomfort when using vein illumination.
AccuVein, the world’s leading manufacturer and distributor of vein illumination devices, can help healthcare practitioners perform more successful vein access techniques and place peripheral IVs with far fewer complications. These devices are easy to use and greatly reduce the incidents of pain and complication normally experienced in venipuncture procedures. More importantly, patients have reported a very high degree of satisfaction with the use of vein illumination procedures.
This piece was composed by Gerald Pittman, a freelance writer based in Waco, Texas who concentrates on health, medical science, wellness, exercise, fitness, nutritional science, medical research, medical education and other related topics; those interested in joining the medical field should consider cnacertification-training.com.