Central Venous Catheter or Central Lines
A central venous catheter is also called a central venous access device. They are used to supply medicines, nutrients, or fluids and blood or blood components into your blood. They can also be used to take out blood for sampling and testing.
Main Usage of a central venous catheter
- In chemotherapy, most of the drugs are put into your body through veins (bloodstream).
- Putting the I.V again and again in veins can cause a lot of damage to the veins. In that case, we use a central venous catheter.
- It is used to get more drugs at a time.
- It is used to get continuous chemotherapy for 24 hours.
- It is used to get frequent treatments and also to get treatments at your home.
- The drugs can also cause very serious damage, as sometimes the drugs start leaking through veins. In that case, the central venous catheter plays a good role. Using a central venous catheter instead of normal I.V can minimize the chances of veins leakage.
The central venous catheter is a bigger and longer catheter which is being put into a large vein in the chest or the upper arm. It stays in that vein as long as you are getting treatment so you won’t need to be stuck with a needle each time. Some types of central venous catheters can stay in for weeks, months, or even years.
One should take proper care if they are having a treatment using a central venous catheter. The central venous catheter should be touched with sanitized hands, as touching it with non-sanitized hands can cause infection. If someone is taking a shower he or she should cover that area with waterproof taping or bandage to avoid the contact of water and central venous catheter.
Although a central venous catheter is a better way to supply drugs and medicines during long term therapy, it also has some challenges and problems which may affect a person.
There are chances of skin infection near the area of the insertion, which can cause a lot of problems for the person. To avoid this, the area should be properly cleaned and bandaged up to avoid such kind of infection. One should also make sure that the hands that are touching that area are well sanitized to avoid infection.
The central venous catheters should be well clamped when they are not in use and the caps should be tightly screwed to avoid the entrance of air into the central venous catheter. If a large amount of air enters the central venous catheter then it can cause problems in breathing and may create an emergency by causing chest pain as well.
One should also look for a symptom that indicates that there is a blood clot, sometimes there is a blood clot that may form around the catheter. This can cause swelling in the arm, shoulder, neck, and head.
If someone sees any of the above symptoms then, they should immediately contact the medical team to assist further, as most of the problems may get serious if they are avoided for a long time.