Always warn a plasma phlebotomist that you've got rolling veins before donating, so they can cut out the "Chase the Vein" portion of the proceedings and go straight to the special tricks for rolling veins.
When collecting blood and plasma, according to the North Carolina's Harm Reduction Coalition, there are several tricks to successfully handle rolling veins:
- Stretch your skin at the injection site. By stretching the skin, you can securely anchor your veins and increase the opportunity for the needle to enter the vein completely. When the phlebotomist performs a venipuncture, the skin should be pulled down so that the vein does not move upward. Use the thumb side of your non-dominant hand to apply traction to the skin beneath the IV vein puncture site. The key to anchoring a vein is to apply pressure, so don't be shy about pushing down to pull the skin nice and tight.
- Ask for a butterfly needle. It is also possible to deal with rolling veins by a medical innovation called "butterfly needle". The present invention is a disposable product used to stabilize a rolling vein and hold a small vein in place to facilitate needle insertion. This special needle has flexible wings on both sides where medical professionals place their fingers to secure the device for precise placement. Hence, the "butterfly".
- Drink more water. Always drink a few cups of water before donating plasma or blood. It helps to plump your veins and make plasma collection easier. This is very important as it lubricates the plasma, dilates the veins and makes the donation of plasma easier and faster.
- Ask for an angled needle insertion. The plasma needle is designed to be inserted at a shallow angle so as to apply pressure to the vein, and at the same time steady rolling veins. A phlebotomist should pierce the skin directly above the vein at an angle of about 45 degrees and as it enters the vein, bring the needle close to the skin (some nurses inject through one side of the vein, others through the top, which is a personal preference) . Using an appropriate angle, the tearing caused by the plasma needle in the vein can also be reduced.
- Tell the phlebotomist to anchor the vein. It is up to the phlebotomist drawing your blood plasma to anchor the vein before sticking you, that will help it not to roll. As long as the drawing the blood anchors the vein properly, there should be no issues. The anchoring and stretching of the skin distally prevents the vein from rolling or moving during your insertion attempt.
- Apply skin care cream to the site. Skin care products used for rolling veins are very beneficial. After rolling, please use good quality product (cream or oil) ingredients. It all depends on the depth of your veins. If you roll back very tightly once a month, you can help your collagen to regrow.
- Ask for a larger needle gauge. In the case of a thick rolling vein, the plasma center should use the sharpest needle in their arsenal and try to access the vein from the top rather than from the side. Although 20 gauge is most commonly used for normal plasma donations, body fluids, and medications, even transfusions, adults can be injected safely with a 22 gauge plasma needle.
- Reapply the needle. If blood flow is insufficient for sample collection, you can lightly reapply the tourniquet. This reduces the likelihood that a vein will compress from a needle.
- Please relax your arms. When a nurse injects you, loosen your hands and arms to prevent rolling. Please use the heat pad while relaxing, drop your arms, drink water and reevaluate the site.
- Ask the center if they have a vein viewer. Modern medicine is making the process of drawing blood a lot easier for patients and phlebotomists with a device called AccuVein, which helps the phlebotomist identify veins. Experts say the Vein Viewer works by gently x-raying people with rolling veins and deep veins, as well as hard to find veins. The device also works great on babies because their veins are tiny.
- Ask for a different phlebotomist. At the medical laboratory, there will always be one person who can be counted for successful extraction from the most robust and uncooperative veins. If you feel that your blood draw is too shallow, ask someone else to draw your blood.
What Happens During a "Rolling" Insertion?
Implementation of venipuncture and the start of peripheral intravenous (IV) infusion is one of the most difficult clinical skills that nurses must acquire.
With a rolling vein, you push through the skin, but then when your needle hits the vein wall, the vein moves away instead of laying there quietly and letting you pierce it. Then you play an invigorating game of Chase the Vein, which is frustrating and stressful for everybody involved.
What Exactly Causes Rolling Veins?
A rotating vein can be anywhere in the body and is commonly a vein that is not completely fixed to the surrounding subcutaneous tissue. This happens more easily with veins close to the surface or in elderly people with less skin and connective tissue.
These veins have two bad properties, making it difficult to isolate the patient and insert the needle. Firstly, the vein seems not to be bound to the surrounding skin and moves completely freely, but most human connective tissue tends to hold the vein more or less.
Why Can't I Donate Plasma?
You may have been said to be a "hard stick" if you previously went to a clinic or laboratory and a phlebotomist stabbed you more than once for a single blood draw. It's due to various conditions such as dehydration, collapsed veins, contracted blood vessels, and lack of experience of plasma center technicians.
If you have ever had a plasma donation where the technician tells you that you have small, deep or rolling veins (the veins tend to roll away from the needle when the blood is drawn), the next best choice for your plasma donation is to make sure you tell them you have these probable problems before the start of plasma donation.
The person who collects your plasma is a doctor trained with venipuncture (touching the vein with a needle), and there are many experts such as phlebotomists, medical assistants, nurses etc. And when pediatric critical care doctors are faced with treating children with cancer or chubby babies whose veins are not eligible for plasma donation, infrared technology aids in drawing blood, fitting peripherally inserted central catheters (known as a PICC line) and IV insertion.