Central venous access device

From WikiMD's Wellness Encyclopedia

Central venous access device (CVAD) is a medical device designed to provide long-term access to a patient's central venous system. This device is used for a variety of medical purposes, including the administration of medication, fluids, blood products, and nutritional solutions, as well as for the collection of blood samples.

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

There are several types of CVADs, each with its own specific uses and advantages. These include:

  • Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC): A PICC is a long, thin tube that is inserted through a vein in the arm and threaded into the superior vena cava, a large vein near the heart. PICCs are often used for long-term intravenous (IV) therapy.
  • Central Venous Catheter (CVC): A CVC is a tube that is inserted into a large vein, typically in the neck, chest, or groin. CVCs are used for rapid fluid replacement, administration of medications, and blood sampling.
  • Implantable Port: An implantable port is a small, round disc made of plastic or metal that is surgically placed under the skin. A catheter connects the port to a vein. Once the port is in place, medication can be injected and blood samples can be drawn through the port.
  • Tunneled Catheter: A tunneled catheter is a type of CVC that is placed under the skin and tunneled to a vein. This type of catheter is often used when long-term access is needed.

Indications for Use[edit | edit source]

CVADs are used in a variety of medical situations. They are often used when a patient requires:

  • Long-term IV therapy
  • Frequent blood sampling
  • Administration of medications that cannot be given by mouth or through a peripheral IV
  • Administration of chemotherapy
  • Hemodialysis

Risks and Complications[edit | edit source]

While CVADs are a vital tool in modern medicine, they are not without risks. Potential complications include:

  • Infection: This is one of the most common complications of CVADs. Infections can occur at the site of insertion or along the catheter.
  • Thrombosis: Blood clots can form in the vein where the CVAD is placed.
  • Air embolism: This is a rare but serious complication that can occur if air gets into the vein through the CVAD.
  • Mechanical complications: These can include problems with the device itself, such as blockages or malfunctions.

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

Central venous access devices play a crucial role in the treatment of many patients, particularly those requiring long-term IV therapy or frequent blood sampling. While they carry some risks, their benefits in terms of patient comfort and treatment efficacy are significant.


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD