Central Line Inserted Central Catheter
A central catheter is a long, thin tube inserted into a large vein. The vein may be in the neck, arm, shoulder, or leg.
A peripherally inserted central catheter is threaded through a vein in the arm.
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Reasons for Procedure
Central catheters are inserted to give:
Once the central line is in, it can be used for weeks to months.
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
- Excess bleeding
- Bloodstream infection
- Blood clots
- Injury to nearby structures or organs
- Heart arrhythmias —changes in the way the heart beats
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:
What to Expect
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if you have:
- Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, excess bleeding, or discharge at the insertion site
- Pain at the insertion site
- Trouble flushing or inserting fluids into the catheter
- A loose catheter—or one that falls out
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
Prior to Procedure
The care team may meet with you to talk about:
- Any allergies you may have
- Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before the procedure
- Fasting before the procedure, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before
- Whether you need a ride to and from the procedure
- Central venous catheter. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/procedure/central-venous-catheter.
- FAQs: Catheter-associated bloodstream infections. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/hai/pdfs/bsi/BSI_tagged.pdf.
- Saugel B, Scheeren TWL, et al. Ultrasound-guided central venous catheter placement: a structured review and recommendations for clinical practice. Crit Care. 2017;21(1):225.
- Vascular access procedures. Radiology Info—Radiological Society of North America website. Available at: https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info/vasc_access.
- Nicole Meregian, PA
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