What Does a Blown Vein Look Like and What Does It Mean?

Blog Post
By South Valley Vascular
December 6, 2022

A blown vein is usually recognizable and easy to spot. And while it may sound severe, blown veins do not usually result in further health complications. When a vein is blown, it may develop into a collapsed vein, which can be more serious. But a blown vein will typically heal on its own and can be treated relatively easily. Regardless, it is best to avoid a blown vein and to know the signs and symptoms. Here is everything you should know about blown veins.

The Meaning of a Vein Blown

A blown vein is a vein that has been ruptured and is leaking blood. While this may sound severe, it is uncommon and not usually severe. In most cases, a blown vein is caused by a healthcare professional inserting a needle into the vein. If the healthcare professional misses the mark slightly, it can cause the vein to be blown.

Fortunately, if you experience a blown vein from an IV injection, you are usually in very good hands. Nurses and medical professionals responsible for administering injections are very good at treating injuries such as blown veins. While these injuries are the result of an on-the-job accident, it does not mean your nurse is unskilled. Veins are delicate, and even trained professionals make occasional errors when administering injections.

A blown vein can quickly be treated by applying light pressure and cleaning up the area to prevent infection. You might notice some darkening of the skin around the area or tenderness. If you begin to notice these symptoms shortly after injection, alert your nurse. Typically, a blown vein will heal on its own (once initially treated) in a week or two.

How Does a Blown Vein from IV Injection Happen?

You may be wondering how a blown vein can happen if medical professionals are trained to safely administer IVs. There are a few possible factors that can cause a blown vein from IV injections.

Wrong Needle Size

Some veins are larger than others, as are some needles. Occasionally, a medical professional will administer an IV using the wrong-sized needle, which can cause a puncture. If you have experienced burst veins before, you may consider notifying the person responsible for administering your injection. This could alert them to search for another vein, or use a different-sized needle.

Bad Angle of Injection

Sometimes, a needle is simply injected at the wrong angle. Injecting a needle takes a very precise measurement. If your medical professional is off even just the slightest bit, it could cause the vein to burst. Thankfully, nurses and other healthcare workers are highly trained and avoid errors like this in most cases.

Inadvertent Movement

Some burst veins are caused by the patient moving involuntarily at the time of injection. This can easily cause the person administering the IV to miss their mark slightly. This is not uncommon, especially in people with a fear of needles. An involuntary twitch at the time of insertion may occur, for instance. Thankfully, if this happens, your nurse can quickly and easily treat your burst vein, so there is little to worry about.

Complications from Blown Out Vein

On rare occasions, a blown-out vein develops into a collapsed vein. Collapsed veins are blown-out veins that are caved in, which prevents blood flow. Most of the time, a collapsed vein will heal over time as well. But in some cases, they do not recover, which can cause problems with circulation. However, this is not common. In most instances, a blown vein heals without severe consequences.

South Valley Vascular provides vein treatment and vascular surgery procedures for a wide variety of vascular conditions. Read about our treatment services to learn more.