Medical question about veins and IVs

Alright, when I had my surgery on the first they started my IV in the back of my left hand.
Not a problem.
I usually warn the people starting my IVs that although I have large lovely veins, that they roll and I tend to bleed, and I hate needles.
Told the nurse that on the first and she said “great, thanks for letting me know, and I will use some numbing stuff and you won’t feel a thing.”
And I didn’t.
And no matter who does it or how careful they are I always end up with a bruise afterwards.
Well, I didn’t this time, but I did end up with something different that is kind of worring me.
My hand hurts clear down into my wrist, and I noticed today that the vein feels hard.
What on earth would cause this? The pain is getting worse and the vein hardness is moving down into my wrist.
I’m going to call my doctor about it tomorrow, but I’m really kind of worried about this.
Any doctors, med students, nurses, blood type people out there have any ideas or suggestions or give me questions to remember to ask my doctor.
I usually drive my nurses crazy with every little thing they do to my IV because of a movie I saw as a child where someone was killed by air in the lines and it’s a paranoia that has stuck with me even though it has been explained by many nurses what it would take and how much air and presure you would have to use to do that. That and the fact that there are alarms for big bubbles.
Oh, well, everybody has their own little phobias.
But I am really worried about this vein. And I am going to call tomorrow.

I’m sure you’ve already called a doctor and I would take his/her advice over mine, but from what you say it’s more than a simple phobia. You may have had an adverse reaction to the numbing drug, but its effect was localized. That would seem to support a case for a bad reaction. That you didn’t bruise was odd, however. Pretty much every IV I’ve ever seen (my mother alone had enough for an entire med school, plus when I was little she worked in a hospital so I had to come along when she was on call and got a couple mini-tours) there has been at least some minor bruising. But, again, I think your doctor’s opinion will be better informed than my own.

Strange. I haven’t got bruising for the majority of the IV’s I’ve had (~200). I have had situations where my hand/arm hurts though. I think the reason for that is the rate was set too high and the vein was being irritated.

Congrats, you’ve summoned my yearly post…

Sounds like you may have a touch of phlebitis - an inflammation of the vein. This is a not-uncommon response to the irritation of both the physical presence of the IV catheter, and medications. I encourage you to contact your physician for further evaluation.

It becomes a bit more worrisome should you develop a red streak or streaks extending up your arm. This may indicate a more serious and extensive phlebitis, and possibly a phlebitis secondary to infection. I certainly don’t mean to alarm you - especially given your stated concern regarding IVs - as it is unlikely, but such a development would warrant medical attention post-haste.

Barring that, warm compresses and analgesics provide symptomatic relief.


Shaky Jake


Here’s another multi- multi- iv person chiming in. I’ve probably had somewhere upwards of 500 of them in my life, starting at about age 12. I received antibiotics through them, and depending on which one was used, I could experience exactly what it sounds like you’re having. The vein gets hard, it’s irritated, sometimes burning and sometimes aching, and it doesn’t stop till a while after the thing gets pulled out of you. The only option is to yank that one and restart one somewhere else. And for a little good news, the hardness of the vein almost always went away after a week or two, unless I really pushed the limits on things and refused to let the docs start another one on me (for instance, if I knew the antibiotic course was finishing in two days, I’d hang in there so I wouldn’t have to have another one started.
Hope this helps!

Beat me to it, Jake.

Kricket, please do not wait til tomorrow to contact your doctor. Get a call in today, and if at all possible, an urgent appointment. I scanned your post a second time, but did not see anything mentioning “a red line…” from the site of the IV. IF you have that red line, than DO NOT BOTHER TO CALL AN APPOINTMENT IN. Just go. You have an infection that needs to be treated immediately, as it is in your bloodstream, and will follow your vein. Scary stuff.

Phlebitis is easily treated, but it’s going to hurt for a while. I second the warm compresses.

I remember they said I as going to get antibiotics during the surgery but they were gone before I woke up.
No red lines that I can see.
I’m going to call and talk to a nurse here in a few minutes to see what they have to say.
Hey, check me out! I pulled out a lurker!
Seriously thank you Shaky Jake for comming out and contributing.
Thank you everybody for helping.
I’ve had a few IVs in my time (not as many as some here) but I’ve never had this happen before.
Since my son has to have IV’s quite a bit for his platelet problem I suppose it is a good thing this is something I am now aware of so I can watch him. We’ve been dealing with his IV’s since he was almost two and now he is going on seven and can be more vocal about what his body is feeling.
Scary stuff.
Again, thank you all. I love this community!