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Vascular access unit (VAU)

Imaging (Radiology)

Who are we?

We are a nurse-led unit that cares for patients who require central access for their treatment. Vascular Access Unit (VAU) is clinically supported by a lead consultant.

We can help you by inserting your central line for your individualised treatment, whether that is chemotherapy, stem cell transplant, parenteral nutrition or IV antibiotics.

We are also the team that will remove your tunnelled line when / if this is required.

In addition, we can advise you and your parenteral team about the care and maintenance of your central line, in order to avoid or resolve any complications related to it.

Attending VAU

The VAU is open from Monday to Friday, 09:00 – 17:00hrs on an appointment-based system.

The appointments are requested by your team. When they are arranged, you will either be advised by a letter sent to your home address or via a MyChart notification; if this is your preferred method of communication with CUH.

You may require blood tests prior to your procedure. If you are on blood thinners, for example : warfarin, dabigatran (Pradaxa), rivaroxaban (Xarelto), apixaban (Eliquis), edoxaban (Savaysa), or betrixaban (Bevyxxa) these may need to be stopped for one or more days. Please discuss this with your specialist team.

Depending on the procedure you are having in VAU, the waiting times can vary. This will be indicated in your letter or notification.

When you are with us, our highly skilled specialist nurses will explain the details of your procedures and everything you need to know to help you make an informed decision about your treatment.


If we are inserting a Hickman line or a portacath, you will be offered the option to have conscious sedation. This is not a general anaesthetic, but you will need some time to recover after the procedure in our unit. A responsible adult will need to accompany you and drive you home afterwards. Please note that for the following 24 hours you cannot drive, handle machinery or make significant decisions.