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Q: Improving size and presence of human forearm veins ( No Answer,   3 Comments )
Subject: Improving size and presence of human forearm veins
Category: Health
Asked by: paternostrum-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 07 May 2004 12:09 PDT
Expires: 13 May 2004 01:35 PDT
Question ID: 342854
Many people having multiple medical treatments and tests have their
arm veins used up or they have thready poor veins in the first place.
I know because I am an anesthesiologist and a cancer patient who has
dealt many times with these problems and crappy veins to boot.

Does anyone know of some home remedy or medical procedure to cause a
direct improvement in vein formation (not heat or hot water, etc) to
the point that my veins could be easily found when I go in for Gamma
Knife and tests next week and things like that?

I'll offer $25.00 for a really good answer but remember I can tip up
to $200.00- for something that you might know or find that works for

Clarification of Question by paternostrum-ga on 13 May 2004 01:31 PDT
I was looking for more than usual heat and slap technics which I know
really helps us technicians get through the job but do little for the
patient with the permanent problem. I'm looking for the exciting and
novel and I haven't seen it here today.
But I must solve this today as I am about to submit my arms once more
to days and days of hospitalization.
The thing which I had never heard about was the "Vene-Vue". I can't
believe that I missed this in my long professional life. So for that
alone I will award the answer to Crabcakes. Too late to find it for
now but for fun I'll check it out. I'm sure it won't be worth a damn

Since it seems that you all care so much let me throw in my best find
to date gained from a lab tech here who wraps the 2 tourniquet
technic. But the trick here is to use one of those very heavy duty,
slightly wider, rubber straps on the bottom and then adds the second
on top of it in the form of the lighter rubber straps most of us use
routinely. Interestingly this seems to cause my deeper veins at the
elbow to pop so that she just stabs the needle somewhere in the area.
This from Holland where I had several experimental treatments a year
or two ago.
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Improving size and presence of human forearm veins
From: pinkfreud-ga on 07 May 2004 13:10 PDT
Like you, I have poor veins that have been made worse by overuse
during numerous medical procedures. This may sound simplistic, but the
best thing I've found to improve vein usability is to be *very* well
hydrated at the time of the stick.

This is not always possible, of course. But it has been my personal
experience that ample hydration and proper electrolyte balance can
make a noticeable difference.

On the lighter side...

I once asked an IV nurse what I could do about my problem. Her
suggestion: don't be a tiny redheaded person. This advice came too
late for me, since I had been a tiny redheaded person for many decades
at the time. ;-)
Subject: Re: Improving size and presence of human forearm veins
From: sarleo-ga on 12 May 2004 16:03 PDT
Three decades of medical procedures with lousy veins to begin with has
led me to try several things:
First I make sure that I am sufficiently hydrated as pinkfreud has
already stated. That is a must.
Next, if at all possible, I have any procedure scheduled later in the
day when my arms have been moving around, allowing blood to flow
through the veins for a good while.
Then I think about temperature. You mentioned that you were not
interested in any suggestions about heat. I assume you mean you do not
want to emmerse your arms in hot water or have hot towels draped over
them. I do find that there are times that these activities save me. I
would just add that in the colder weather or in air conditioned
hospitals, my veins retreat and hide. In response to that, I wear
several long sleeve shirts and flex and contract my forearm muscles
frequently while I am waiting to get stuck. Also, even in summer, I
wear gloves if the temperature is cold in the hospital.
I am very careful, especially at teaching hospitals, of who is going
to try to draw blood, place an IV or inject me with anything. When
veins are so very fragile, I treasure and nurture them.
Lastly, a suggestion made to me by the medical staff, was to make time
each day to take a tennis ball or something similar and use that to
exercise my muscles. It has worked for me. I have gone from IV's in my
neck to 20 gauge needles in my forearms by the second try!I wish you
the best of luck.
Sarah Ann
Subject: Re: Improving size and presence of human forearm veins
From: crabcakes-ga on 12 May 2004 16:21 PDT
pinkfreud's comment about being well hydrated is the very best place to start.

You didn't want heat related ideas, but taping an infant heel-warmer,
the kind used for infant heel-sticks, to the veniouncture area, is
your best bet. (10-15 minutes)

Ask for the "Best Stick" to do the drawing and/or IV. Many regular
patients know who is the "best stick", just ask!

A dozen or two jumping jacks, if you're able,and if not, a few arm
swings, just before being "poked" will help, as will lying on a
stretcher/bed and dangling your arm over the side for a few minutes,
espcially with a heel-warmer taped to the area to be poked.

Phlebotomists will sometimes keep a tight tourniquet on for extra
time. While this method may help, it can produce erroneous lab
results, particularly in electrolytes.(Phlebotomsists may be good, but
they have little background in medical testing techniques, and may not
know this)

There used to be a product, called Vene-Vue that would illuminate a
vein, allowing the inexperienced to see a vein that was not palpable.
It was expensive, and most hospitals quit stocking it.

I have seen cancer patients actually draw lines up and down, on either
side of a known vein, that was hard to stick, making it easier to

For blood draws, on hard to draw patients, I have better luck on the
back of the hand, and on the thumb. It *may* be a bit more painful,
but for me, it's a sure thing! One poke and we're done.

Good Luck!

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