Central venous access catheter

From WikiMD's Wellness Encyclopedia

Central venous access catheter (CVAC), also known as a central line, is a type of catheter that is inserted into a large vein in the body. It is used to administer medication, fluids, blood products, and nutritional supplements, and to draw blood samples for testing.

Overview[edit | edit source]

A CVAC is typically inserted into a large vein in the neck, chest, or groin. The catheter is then threaded through the vein until it reaches the superior vena cava or the right atrium of the heart. This allows for rapid distribution of administered substances throughout the body.

Types of Central Venous Access Catheters[edit | edit source]

There are several types of CVACs, including:

  • Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC): A PICC line is inserted into a vein in the arm and then threaded to the superior vena cava.
  • Tunneled Catheter: This type of catheter is inserted into a vein in the neck or chest and then tunneled under the skin to a separate exit site. This helps to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Implanted Port: An implanted port is a small reservoir that is surgically implanted under the skin. Medication is injected through the skin into the reservoir and then flows into the vein.

Indications[edit | edit source]

CVACs are used when patients require:

  • Long-term intravenous therapy
  • Frequent or continuous administration of medications
  • Administration of substances that cannot be taken orally or by peripheral IV
  • Frequent blood sampling

Risks and Complications[edit | edit source]

While CVACs are generally safe, they can be associated with several risks and complications, including:

  • Infection: This is one of the most common complications of CVACs. It can occur at the site of insertion or along the catheter.
  • Thrombosis: Blood clots can form on the tip of the catheter, leading to a blockage in the vein.
  • Air Embolism: This can occur if air enters the catheter and then travels to the heart or lungs.
  • Catheter Malposition: The catheter can move from its original position, which can cause complications.

See Also[edit | edit source]


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD