Is it okay to bend your elbow when there is an IV in your arm?

I was sick and had to go to the hospital today, where they gave me a saline solution intravenously. While the IV was in my arm, another nurse came in and told me to undress for an EKG. I asked her if we could remove the needle from my arm first.

She looked at me like I was crazy and said, "Uhh, you can bend your arm." When I did, blood went back up the IV tube for about 6 inches, and it caused a little pain. However, now I can barely move that arm at the elbow and it is very sore.

Was she wrong?

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  1. raisin, 20 April, 2010

    If the IV was in your antecubital fossa, it was not such a good idea to bend your arm for reasons listed in your question. What probably happened is that you gave additional stress to the needle, which might have bruised your vein…we call it "blowing out the veing", which is quite painful and remains that way for some time. But it will resolve. Place some ice on it, it will help if there is any inflammation. Take care.

  2. DVP, 20 April, 2010

    Yes is OK to bend your elbow, if you don’t move your arm it will definitely become stiff. Now, you don’t want to cut the flow of your IV, meaning, you can’t keep your elbow bent for a prolong period of time.
    Hope this helped.

  3. cool, 20 April, 2010

    i agree with raisin’s answer. you might want to ask the nurse to remove that cannula in your arm and place it by the dorsal area of your non-dominant hand. this will give you more freedom to move around without having to ponder any joint motion that may again dislodge or puncture a vein.

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