What goes into an IVIG infusion?
The process of the infusion itself is relatively simple, but it can be very painful for Gavin. There are several pieces of equipment that go into each infusion. There’s an external pump, two subcutaneous needles, tubing, extension tubing, alcohol prep, obsites, three vials of GAMMAGARD, one 18 gauge needle, and a 60cc syringe.
We assemble the tubing, draw up the solution, prime the pump, disinfect his belly, place the needles into his belly, cover them with obsites, and turn on the pump.
Before beginning the infusion, Gavin needs to take medication to help prevent or limit side effects. He takes Motrin for pain, Zofran for nausea, and Benadryl to help his body accept the donor antibodies. We used to numb the areas where the needles were placed before the placement, but it took much longer, and as Gavin has gotten older, he decided to skip that part.
Each infusion can take anywhere from one to six hours to complete. It depends on needle placement, and honestly how fast his body absorbs the medication.
While we do this procedure at home, it can be very painful at times. When the infusion completes, there are two almost half racketball sized lumps at the infusion sites. These go away over the next few hours, as his body absorbs the medication.
After each infusion, Gavin will usually sleep for several hours. These medically necessary infusions take a great deal out of him, and his body is exhausted afterward.
Most of the time, he doesn’t experience any significant side effects, but sometimes he gets sick to his stomach. Sometimes he gets a bad migraine, and other times he deals with both. Amazingly, in all the years he’s been receiving these infusions, either at home or in the infusion lab at Akron Children’s Hospital, he’s never once complained. I find that truly inspiring.