We are proud to have a dedicated Vascular Access Team (VAT) — one of the premier VATs in southeast Wisconsin. This specialized team ensures the highest quality care for patients who require an intravenous (IV) line.

What Does Vascular Mean?

Vascular refers to the vessels in the body that carry blood. The vascular system is made up of two types of vessels:

  • Arteries, which carry blood away from the heart
  • Veins, which carry blood back to the heart

Vascular access is the placement of a catheter line (a thin tube) into a patient’s vein to provide treatment or therapy (also called infusion or IV therapy). The catheter — also called an intravenous (IV) line may be placed for different reasons, depending on the type of treatment needed. Some examples of IV lines are:

  • Peripheral intravenous line — peripheral veins are located in the arms. A short peripheral catheter is placed in a peripheral vein when therapy is expected to be short-term.
  • Peripheral inserted central catheter (PICC) — this type of IV line is placed in a larger vein and is used for treatments that may be hard on smaller veins, such as a course of chemotherapy, and for long-term treatments that may take many weeks or even months. The PICC is inserted through a vein in the arm. Using ultrasound imaging for guidance, the tip of the catheter is moved to a large, central vein in the body.

Vascular access procedures are performed when patients need:

  • Long-term antibiotic treatment
  • Hydration therapy to restore fluids to a patient who is dehydrated
  • Total parental nutrition (TPN) to provide nutrition when the gastrointestinal tract is not functioning and unable to absorb nutrients the body needs; a nutrition solution is provided through a catheter in a vein (intravenous feeding)
  • Certain types of chemotherapy
  • Repeated blood draws
  • Hemodialysis
  • Pain management

Vascular Access Team

Our Vascular Access Team is a team of highly skilled board-certified registered nurses who are specially trained in vascular access insertion and management. Vascular Access Team nurses may hold the Vascular Access-Board Certified (VA-BC) or the Certified Registered Nurse Infusion (CRNI) credentials — ensuring patient safety and positive outcomes. Both credentials mean VAT nurses are highly skilled and knowledgeable in vascular access and infusion therapy, are dedicated to their specialty, and provide the highest quality care. The team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.

Vascular Access Team Services

The Vascular Access Team provides services that include, but are not limited to:

  • Insert PICCs and other IV lines at the bedside on selected patients.
  • Troubleshoot obstructed central line catheters.
  • Provide consultation services to enhance the intravenous skills of the nursing staff through bedside teaching; the VAT can be contacted at any time with vascular access questions.
  • Provide education to patients and families about venous access devices.