A central venous catheter is an alternative to the more common peripheral (arm) IV. Like the peripheral IV, it provides access to the patient’s bloodstream for medications and fluids. Unlike the peripheral IV, it is a catheter which has its tip in one of the large veins leading into the heart, usually the vein called the superior vena cava. These catheters are sometimes used in critically ill patients who need to have the pressure in the large veins monitored or need certain drugs infused which cannot be given through IV’s in the arms. The central venous catheters can typically stay in the patient longer than an arm IV, and some have multiple channels so that drugs can be given simultaneously that could not otherwise be mixed together. Unlike peripheral IV’s, blood can be drawn from the catheters for lab tests. In patients who cannot be fed through the gut, nutrition called TPN (total parenteral nutrition) can be given through the central venous catheter. TPN cannot be given through an arm IV, since the concentration of nutrients can damage the smaller veins. Some patients will need a central venous catheter if nurses and doctors are unable to insert an IV in the arm. The central venous catheter is usually inserted either through a large vein in the neck (the jugular vein) or through a large vein underneath the collarbone or clavicle (the subclavian vein). A special type of central venous catheter called the PICC line (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter) can be inserted through an arm vein. As you can imagine, it is quite narrow in diameter but very long. The PICC line is less likely to become infected than the other central venous catheters, so it is useful for patients who are being treated with many weeks of IV antibiotics or who require prolonged IV nutrition.
Joseph D. McCracken, MD
- internal medicine
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- What is a central venous access catheter?
What is blood serum?
Healthwise answeredBlood serum is the sticky, watery liquid left after the solid parts of the blood (the red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets) have clumped (coagulated).
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When are symptoms of infant hypocalcemia likely to appear?
Piedmont Heart Institute answered
Symptoms of infant hypocalcemia are most likely to appear within two weeks of birth. Early infant hypocalcemia occurs during the first three days after birth. Late infant hypocalcemia occurs between the fifth and tenth days after birth.
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