A vein assessment is necessary to ensure that the patient has strong veins with good blood flow for the blood stem cell collection procedure.
An appointment will be made for you to go to the Vancouver General Hospital Hematology Apheresis Unit, also referred to as the HAU. The HAU is located at the Krall Centre on the 6th floor of the Centennial Pavilion.
On your first visit to the HAU, you will be given a tour of the unit. The process of stem cell collection will be explained and shown to you.
A nurse will check your arm veins located in the elbow area to ensure that they can be used for the stem cell collection procedure. The Hematology Apheresis machine needs a certain amount of blood flow in order to work properly. Therefore, a strong vein with good blood flow is needed.
If the veins are too small or delicate, the insertion of a temporary intravenous line called a “St Paul’s Catheter” may be necessary. A St. Paul’s Catheter is a small plastic tube that is placed into a large vein located in the side of the neck. Sometimes it is necessary (but rarely) to place the St. Paul’s Catheter in the large groin vein, which drains the blood from the legs. This tube allows the blood to be easily removed and returned to your body. If you require a St. Paul’s Catheter, the nurse will make an appointment for you with the Angio-Radiology Department. The St. Paul’s Catheter will be inserted the day before or the day of the stem cell collection. The catheter will be removed after the collections
The nurses and doctors at the HAU wish to make the collection experience as stress-free and comfortable as possible. Please let them know if there is anything they can do to assist you in this.