AVMs and twisty veins

I'm curious to know if any of the other members on the forum have twisty veins making it hard for blood draws and IVs. I've always been a "hard stick" but on my last visit to the hospital I was told the problem is that my veins aren't running straight but rather twist and turn making it hard to do blood draws or insert an IV.

I just wondered if maybe this was a clue to the AVM mystery

Ah the AVM mystery which I have also pondered. Thanks for posting this discussion, Scotswoman, but actually I have been complimented on my veins by med techs especially now that I do strength training.

My veins roll but only on one side. But they hide as Well.

Scotswoman, I realize I do not have "twisty veins" per your description, and I am not familiar with them, but for whatever it's worth : the last time I had blood drawn the tech had difficulty getting the blood to flow. She asked if I'd been drinking much water. I answered no. I was advised the more water we've drunk, the more fluid in our system, the easier and faster the blood can be drawn out. Makes sense, doesn't it ? But I'd just never thought of it before. Also as my veins are narrow---probably more so now due to my age---I always ask the tech to use a "butterfly" needle for me. That seems to help also in them being to "hit the vein". Most techs are willing, yes, to honor my request for the butterfly. BUT they aren't what we would call "thrilled " because as I understand it it takes more time. Take care, Sally

That's interesting. I am also a tricky stick and have been told that my veins are "skinny" and "roll." I never heard them say it was related to the AVM. My impression was that some people are just harder to stick and it is common enough not to be an AVM thing.

Good point about the water. I always drink lots of water before I go for planned blood draws. Even if I have to fasting, I make sure I drink enough water.

I have always had awful veins and have been a hard stick. After my AVM ruptured it took 6 sticks for them to get in the iv line for the head ct with contrast.

I also have pretty bad circulation and have had spider veins since my early teen years, Raynaud’s disease since my mid thirties and I also had awful bloody nose episodes as a kid that wouldn’t stop until I had my nose cauterized. I have heard that there is a correlation with nosebleeds and AVM’s but I haven’t heard about the other stuff.

Would be interesting to find out if they have any research underway on this.

I’m glad you mentioned this because my veins have always been very noticeable and “twisty” but difficult to stick. I was just diagnosed with having an AVM back in December, and not many people are familiar with it. So it’s nice to know I’m not the only one.

I've been forcing myself to drink more water after reading that it makes blood draws easier for the technicians and still have issues with blood draws, I guess it's just my luck.

I have a pulmonary AVM which was 'coiled' and some other symptoms I'm trying to understand. I have the exact experience as you...have heard the same thing and always (I mean always) have a difficult time with any IV. Interesting...never thought of a possible connection until your post.

I've been told my veins move. When I would donate blood (before my stroke from my AVM) it could be painful and take forever due to catching the edge of the vein and not square in -so I'm told. I also had many nosebleeds all my life. When my mom needs to get an IV in the hospital, we usually now call for the helicopter medics to start it! I've never heard of a connection between the moving or rolling vein issue and AVM's.

Until recently, I had very good veins. I don't know if it's the phlebotomists or what but there seems to be problems recently.

They always draw blood from my right inner elbow veins because the left (same side as my head, ear,scalp, salivary gland AVM) is extremely twisty and crooked so much so that they never take blood from the left arm. I've been tolsd by an AVM surgeon that I couldn't be a bone marrow donor but wondered if anybody has ever been told they shouldn't donate blood because of an AVM???

I have found that a "good" technician can draw blood from both sides especially when I have had a couple of glasses of water, as my veins are quite thin. I think that is because I am getting older as I had no problem when I was younger.

After my recent operation where the Anaesthetist had a great deal of trouble getting a vein I have since been told that yes you need to drink water even if you are supposed to be fasting for a blood test. My veins have always been small but I can't say that it is just because of the avms because I have another problem as well. Since that occurred and I have been very fussy about who gives me any sort of needle I have had no problems.
I was told that a clue to having Avms is that you are born with a smaller amount of capillaries. Therefore the blood in the artery has nowhere to go and finds the vein. That is a simplified version of what actually happens when an AVM forms.

Almost every time (over 10- lost count)that blood was drawn, the nurses had difficulty finding a vein to pull from; unsure if the reason was twisty veins…I’ll have to ask next time.

Many had to go through my hand - in which case, I ask for a butterfly needle…just FYI, it hurts less this way.

Hi everyone--and Julie ! I don't want to "wear my welcome out" here by posting too often ! But with nearly everyone reporting having a problem with veins when blood is drawn and wondering if it correlates with having an AVM, I just have to report that was NEVER the case with me UNTIL now that I am 72 years old ! So I attribute my difficulty with it is (a) from advanced age, and (b) because I was ---unfortunately--a very heavy smoker for over 40 years !! It's a well known fact that smoking narrows arteries and veins. And yes, Julie, like I previously mentioned the butterfly needle makes it easier and more successful, and so does drinking lots of water before hand. We just have to ask for the butterfly, and at the BEGINNING, because it takes the techs more time I was told--- so they don't suggest it initially , as a rule . Take care, Sally

Hi Scotswoman,
I've always been a problem stick and I do drink loads of water. They typically call the IV team to draw blood. I've been to old they are deep and they roll. Never thought it had to do with avm,but now, I wonder...

Scotswoman, I didn’t post initially because it’s not an issue with me. In fact, I’ve been told I’m an easy stick. But when my AVM bled, it did a real number on me. I may be the exception to the rule, but there it is. :slight_smile:

According to one of my MRI reports (brain), I've got "increased tortuosity of the intracanial arterial vessels..." ...'tortuosity' literally means 'twisting'. I'm continually amazed/entertained by the mysterious jargon of radiology reports.

Also, for at least the last 5-10 yrs, not one doctor or phlebotomizer has been able to get blood out of my left arm--and believe me, there have been many attempts.

My right arm however, works like a charm. I can literally say go for the one by that freckle and its always a one-shot deal--so far anyway.

I agree with the others that drinking plenty of water, etc makes a huge difference.