Most Alphas who get augmentation therapy use a simple IV catheter or needle placed in their hand or arm at the time of each infusion. These simple devices have many benefits:
- They’re comfortable.
- They’re easy to place and stay in place during your infusion.
- They have very few complications.
- Most people can use them without any problems.
Other options for your augmentation therapy access device
Your doctor might recommend an “indwelling IV access device” for your infusions. These devices are inserted directly into your vein, and they can stay in place for months or years. They include:
- Implanted Vascular Access Devices (IVADs), also called ports
- Tunneled central catheters
- Peripherally Inserted Central Catheters (PICC)
How to choose your augmentation therapy access device
Ports and catheters make IV access easier. But having these devices in place does pose some risk. Before you make your decision, discuss the risks and benefits of each device with your doctor. Then, choose the one that makes the most sense for your situation.
What to consider when choosing an IVAD or central catheter
These questions may help you make your decision:
- Can you see the veins on your hands and forearms?
- Are these veins accessible and in good condition?
- Have you had trouble with IV insertions in the past?
- Have you had good experience with certain nurses and bad experiences with others?
- What is your infusion schedule?
- Do you plan on doing your own infusions? Or will a spouse or partner do them for you?
- Do you understand the risks and benefits of the device you’ve chosen? If so, do the benefits outweigh the risks?
- Do you understand the insertion procedure for each device?
- Have you talked with others who have had an implanted device?
- Will you need any special care with a certain device?
- Do you understand how to maintain the device?
Note: Choose an augmentation therapy access device that meets your needs, not someone else’s.
This comparison chart shows you many options for catheter devices, and gives a wealth of information for each one.
For more in-depth information on this topic, please visit the Big Fat Reference Guide.