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Tips for getting an IV inserted

I've just had my first Remicade infusion, and as usually happens with me, it took 3 tries to get the IV inserted, and a more experienced nurse had to get called over to help. I have very low blood pressure, and tried to hydrate well beforehand. The first nurse said I had "a lot of valves in my veins" that caused the problem.

I was wondering if anyone knows if there is a way to prepare yourself for getting an IV that would make it go better. My husband suggested doing some jumping jacks before.

I've been reading about it a little bit, and see there are various sizes of needles, and I wonder if they were using the larger size needle the first times, and if I should ask for a smaller one since I have a history of problems with this. I know they need bigger ones for blood draws, but if not, maybe they can use a smaller one. A friend who had trouble with this told me once she overheard the RN say "We're using the PPO needles. Let's switch to the good ones."

I'm also not sure whether it's best to warn the nurses that this is generally problematic with my veins, or if that will just jinx it. So far I've gone with not warning them, but I'm rethinking that and feeling like I should warn them so maybe they'll get the more experienced nurse right away. But I have a feeling they're pretty stubborn about letting the first person who comes up try.


Staff member
New York, USA
I would let them know up front that you are a hard stick, hydrating well beforehand is good, maybe have something with a little extra salt too to try for fluis retention....

Where did they attempt the sticks? I used to get mine in the crook of my arm, because I have REALLY good veins there, even so, I had a valve hit once or twice.....now I usually get it in either the forearm or back of the hand.
Thanks pasobuff. The two failed ones were in the crook of my arm and in my wrist. The one that worked was in the back of my hand. I think my hands are a good bet, but usually they don't try there first.

I will try the extra salt too. Thank you!


I just make sure I stay hydrated, warm and have even used some small weights to increase the blood flow to my arms beforehand (10-20 reps or so). Im sure just tensing your hand and relaxing continuously will have the same effect.
My son used to get Remicade infusion.Lots of times they had to stick him more than once.Until I found one nurse that was awesome at it.She got it right every time.So,as soon as we got there,I specifically asked for her. I didn't care if they liked that or not. Don't feel bad if you don't want to be "practiced on".
Thanks Max's Mom. There was one nurse they got eventually who did it, and she was awesome. I know her name and will definitely ask for her next time.


Staff member
Other than hydrating well the day before and day of the infusion, you could also use a heat pack on the area to help the veins pop up to the surface. I don't know if they use lidocaine on you before they put in the IV but for me when I was given that, my veins ran away. Same thing happened with another person who was given lidocaine. I don't use it anymore because of that plus it hurts more to get the lidocaine than have them dig around with a needle.

Remember which areas worked well in the past and tell them where to put the IV so you can avoid getting stuck a thousand times before they finally try the spot you pointed to in the beginning.
Thanks Jennifer. I will bring a heating pad next time. My trusty heating pad!

I wasn't given any lidocaine for this infusion. I have been given the lidocaine shot before, and I agree that it's not worth it.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I'm relieved to have somewhere to ask these things.