Reply To: fistula for plasmapheresis
Have they tried to use the anacubica (sp?) veins in your arms? I am currently having PE every three weeks and they use a 16 ga needle in each arm and I have had no problems. Use a numbing cream about an hour before the sticks and have no pain. The down side is you have to keep your arms straight during the procedure. On occasion they use an angio cath in the wrist for the return line which allows the use of one arm during the procedure. I have been doing PE this way for well over five years and have had the procedures as often as weekly using the vein sticks. My veins are holding us fine.
My Neuro tells me that fistulas do not hold up for PE. There is a newer port that is under the skin in the chest and from what my Red Cross nurses tell me they work very well. I am saving this as a back up to my vein sticks. To use the vein stick, you have to be very well hydrated and after the procedure you need to ice the access sites off and on for several hours after the procedure. This helps the veins recover. Hope this helps. Good luck.