By Heather Michon |

Perhaps this has happened to you: you’re sitting there, patiently waiting for a nurse or technician to draw blood or start an IV, and they can’t quite hit the vein. They try again. And again. Then they explain that you have “rolling veins,” which can make it difficult to place the needle.

What does it mean to have rolling veins?

It’s not a medical diagnosis, a scientific term or even a physical condition. It’s simply a description some medical professionals use for a vein that doesn’t easily yield to a needle-stick.   

The goal of venipuncture is to visualize a vein and push the needle through the skin and the vein wall, so the needle ends up in the center of the vein. Sometimes, though, the needle enters the skin just to the side of vein, causing it to push — or “roll” — to one side.

Rolling Veins

Who is more likely to have rolling veins?

Some patients have veins that move more than others. A high percentage of infants and the elderly often seem to suffer from “rolling veins,” simply because they don’t have as much tissue to anchor the vein as a young adult might.

But young or old or somewhere in between, rolling veins are relatively common.

What should I do if I have rolling veins?

Nurses can usually immobilize a rolling vein by stretching the skin above and below the puncture site, or using a thumb to hold the vein in proper position.

If you’ve been told you have rolling veins, it’s worth mentioning to your nurse that you’ve encountered problems with venipuncture in the past. Do your best to relax: anxiety can cause veins to contract, making it even harder to hit the target.

Remember, every vein can be accessed eventually. Sometimes it just takes patience.   

 

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References:

Image Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3c-O7LbBzVI

Just stop with the rolling veins- http://allnurses.com/general-nursing-discussion/just-stop-with-1077263.html

The medical dictionary- https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/rolling+vein

Prevent a Rolling Vein When Starting an IV or Drawing Blood – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbG_1-_mnoo

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