Vascular access catheters can be placed for many reasons, such as intravenous antibiotic treatment, frequent blood draws, vascular disease, chemotherapy, dialysis, plasmapheresis, or IV feeding.
Tunneled Dialysis Catheters
A hemodialysis catheter is a hollow tube used for removal and replacing blood to and from your body. The catheter is tunneled from the internal jugular (IJ) with the tip entering the atrium of the heart. An exit site for the catheter is in the chest wall, under the collar bone. A small cuff on the catheter at the exit site sits under the skin. This cuff helps to keep the catheter in place, as well as, help prevent bacteria from entering the body.
The end of the catheter (outside of the exit site) known as a hub has 2 lumen. One lumen carries blood to the dialysis machine, while the other brings blood back into the body once it has been cleansed by the machine. Each lumen has a clip and an end cap that prevent air from getting into or blood from leaking out of the catheter.
A port is a small device that is placed under the skin on your chest or arm. The port connects to a small, soft tube called a catheter which is placed inside one of the large central veins that take blood to your heart.
Patients can receive a number of medications infused through a mediport including chemotherapy. They can also be used for blood draws and transfusions, eliminating the need for multiple IV Sticks for a patient with frequent blood work and infusions. A port can stay in place for months or even years if needed.
Central lines are placed with the patient will need long term blood draws and or medication injections. This allows medical personnel to administer IV medications and blood draws without multiple needle sticks in your arms. Central lines can be tunneled and non-tunneled, implanted ports, or PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) lines. They can have 1,2, or 3 lumens, depending on why central line is needed. The tip of the catheter is placed into the atrium of the heart with the exit site depending, as to what time of line is inserted. Tunneled and non-tunnel have exit sites at the neck, or chest wall area, while a PICC line’s exit is typically in the arm. The catheters ends have clips and caps that preventing blood from leaking out and air from entering the body.