Some patients have conditions that require frequent access to a blood vessel. This can include those who receive intravenous medication or nutrition, chemotherapy for cancer, or dialysis for kidney disorders. Other patients may have conditions that require frequent blood transfusions.
To avoid damage to blood vessels from repeated punctures by medical needles, vascular access devices, called catheters, lines, or ports, can be inserted into a blood vessel. Medical needles or tubes from treatment devices can then be inserted into the vascular access device instead of directly into the blood vessel, keeping the blood vessel tissue healthy.
Vascular access devices may be installed for short-term, long-term, or permanent use, depending on their purpose. Some devices are implanted entirely under the skin, while others have an external access point.
- PICC Lines—Catheters for temporary but long-term use (several weeks to several months).
- Chest Ports and Arm Ports—Port catheters implanted under the skin for very long term or permanent use.
- Permacaths—Long-term catheters tunneled under the skin for dialysis patients.
- Hickman Catheters—Long-term catheters for chemotherapy or for intravenous medication or nutrition.
What is a Vascular Intervention?
Vascular interventions are image-guided treatments for issues directly related to the blood vessels themselves. The procedures fall into three main categories:
- Vascular Ablation—Selective removal of blood vessels that are diseased.
- Vascular Embolization—Sealing off a blood vessel to treat conditions such as internal bleeding.
- Vascular Interruption—Partially restricting passage through a blood vessel, such as installing a filter that prevents blood clots from reaching the heart or lungs.
Vascular Interventions RMI Performs
- Gonadal Vein Embolization—Embolization of abnormally enlarged veins in the scrotum that are causing discomfort or male infertility issues.
- IVC Filter Placement and Retrieval—Filter placements in the inferior vena cava, a large vein that carries blood back to the heart from the lower part of the body, to prevent blood clots from reaching the lungs.
RadiologyInfo.org: Vascular Access Procedures