Central venous catheters

From WikiMD's Wellness Encyclopedia

Central venous catheters (CVCs) are a type of catheter placed into a large vein in the neck, chest, or groin to administer medication or fluids, obtain blood tests, and directly obtain cardiovascular measurements such as the central venous pressure.

Indications[edit | edit source]

Central venous catheters are used when people need long-term intravenous therapy. This could be for the administration of chemotherapy, antibiotics, parenteral nutrition, or for the measurement of central venous pressure. Other indications include hemodialysis, plasmapheresis, and frequent blood draws.

Types[edit | edit source]

There are several types of central venous catheters. These include the Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC), the Tunneled Central Venous Catheter, and the Implanted Port.

Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC)[edit | edit source]

A PICC is inserted in a peripheral vein, such as the cephalic vein, basilic vein, or brachial vein, and then advanced through increasingly larger veins, until the tip rests in the distal superior vena cava or cavoatrial junction.

Tunneled Central Venous Catheter[edit | edit source]

Tunneled catheters are passed under the skin from the insertion site to a separate exit site. This allows the catheter to have a stable position and reduces the infection risk.

Implanted Port[edit | edit source]

An implanted port is a reservoir that is surgically placed under the skin in the upper chest or the arm. It's commonly used in chemotherapy.

Complications[edit | edit source]

Complications of central venous catheterization include pneumothorax, arterial puncture, arrhythmias, and infection. Long-term complications include thrombosis, staphylococcus aureus bacteremia, and endocarditis.

See also[edit | edit source]


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD