In medicine, a central venous catheter ("central line", "CVC", "central venous line" or "central venous access catheter") is a catheter placed into a large vein in the neck (internal jugular vein or external jugular vein), chest (subclavian vein) or groin (femoral vein). It is used to administer medication or fluids, obtain blood tests (specifically the "mixed venous oxygen saturation"), and directly obtain cardiovascular measurements such as the central venous pressure.
There are several types of central venous catheters:
This type of catheter is inserted into a vein at one location (neck, chest or groin), and tunneled under the skin to a separate exit site, where it emerges from underneath the skin. It is held in place by a Dacron cuff, just underneath the skin at the exit site. The exit site is typically located in the chest, making the access ports less visible than if they were to directly protrude from the neck. Passing the catheter under the skin helps to prevent infection and provides stability.
A port is similar to a tunneled catheter but is left entirely under the skin. Medicines are injected through the skin into the catheter. Some implanted ports contain a small reservoir that can be refilled in the same way. After being filled, the reservoir slowly releases the medicine into the bloodstream. An implanted port is less obvious than a tunneled catheter and requires very little daily care. It has less impact on a person's activities than a PICC line or a tunneled catheter. Surgically implanted infusion port placed below the clavicle (infraclavicular fossa), catheter threaded into the right atrium through large vein. Accessed via non-coring "Huber" needle through the skin. May need to use topical anesthetic prior to accessing port. Used for medications, chemotherapy, TPN, and blood. Easy to maintain for home-based therapy.
Full article ▸