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Treatment / Central Venous Catheter Placement

A central venous catheter (CVC) placement is a vascular access procedure where a thin, flexible, plastic tube called a catheter is inserted into a blood vessel allowing blood to be drawn or medication to be delivered to a patient’s bloodstream over an extended period of time. Vascular access eliminates the need for repeated needle sticks for patients requiring recurrent blood draws or medication infusions.

Am I a Candidate for a Tunneled Central Venous Catheter Placement?

Your doctor will evaluate your need for long term venous access based on your diagnosis and expected treatment plan. Tunneled CVC placements are typically performed for patients requiring the following:

  • Antibiotics
  • Chemotherapy or other recurrent medication infusions
  • Blood products, such as plasma
  • Dialysis
  • Pheresis – exchanging or removing blood elements

What to Expect from the Procedure

When you come in for your procedure, you will either have local anesthesia with sedation, or general anesthesia – whatever you and your Interventional Radiologist (IR) have discussed. Your IR will make a small incision in the skin, typically in the lower neck and use ultrasound guidance to locate the vein (usually the jugular vein at the base of the neck). Then using x-ray, a small guide wire will be advanced into the large central vein (vena cava). A second small incision may be made below the first, and a tunnel under the skin will be created. A catheter will be placed through the tunnel into the vein and the tip of the catheter placed into the superior vena cava. The cuff of the device is located under the skin in the tunneled path of the catheter.

The IR will place stitches at the end of the tunnel to help keep the catheter in place.

Recovery

A central venous catheter placement is usually performed as an outpatient procedure and lasts less than an hour. Afterwards, you will rest in a recovery area for a while before you are sent home. Patients can typically return to normal activities within a day or so.

You should call your doctor’s office immediately if you experience the following:

  • Increased or severe bleeding
  • Redness, swelling or tenderness that is getting worse around the catheter
  • Fever, dizziness, or vomiting
  • New shortness of breath or chest pain

Benefits of a Tunneled Central Venous Catheter Placement

  • Central catheter placement allows infusion of medications or nutritional substances without causing the complications that may occur with an IV
  • Eliminate the pain of repeated needle sticks
  • Reduce pain and discomfort for patients requiring prolonged infusion treatment such as chemotherapy
  • Can be used immediately after placement

Whether or not you are a candidate for a tunneled central venous catheter will depend on your diagnosis and a consultation with your doctor to determine the most appropriate long term venous access. Call IVC today at 503-612-0498 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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