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Vascular Surgery

Arm swelling



two years ago i had an iv needle inserted in an emergency room to administer a drug so that i could have an mri. aftr the needle went in, i told the nurse that something was wrong - and after the mri it was even worse. i told the nurse it hurt as she took the needle out and she just pressed up and down on the site for awhile gave me a band-aid and sent me home. by the time i got home (60 miles away), my arm looked like a small baseball bat. i am a woman who does not have large arms! i went to sleep that night and in the am i had a dark red line going up my arm and the arm was even larger than before. i went in to the local clinic and they told me i had phlebitis and an infection. i was put on antibiotics that apparently did not work and ended up in the hospital a week later for iv antibiotics. after this was over, i had clots all the way up my arm - you could see the bumps. i saw a vascular surgeon who told me that my body would absorb them in time and suggested surgery as a last resort (painful, scaring, etc.) Now, i noticed that the clots are gone but the blood is routing through my wrist because the vein on top was damaged. This really hurts - and my arm swells up whenever i try to lift anything or use it for a period of time. It will hurt quite a bit if I lift anything. Also, if i am warm or hot (summer time) the arm and the hand hurts. is this ever going to go away? am i permanently damaged? is there anything i can do to correct this problem? i can`t even wear my wedding ring because it was sized twice already and can`t be sized again. i thought this would be over by now but i am still suffering from someone else`s mistake.


I would suggest your primary care physician order a venous Duplex to see if you have evidence of old blood clot in a deep vein in the arm. You should not continue to see swelling in the hand from an IV insertion two years ago.

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Response by:

Amy B Reed, MD Amy B Reed, MD
No longer associated