More information about Central Line Placement
A central line is a special form of a catheter, or tube, which emergency or other medical personnel may need to insert into a large vein in order to complete a variety of medical procedures. The central line procedure and device are referred to in many different ways, sometimes referred to as a central line, Hickman line, or central venous catheter, among other reference terms. A physican may choose to utlize a central line because it can handle a higher volume of fluids, extract blood with greater ease, and can remain inserted longer than a standard intraveneous line.
The basic concept is that a tube is placed below the skin and is connected to a primary vein. The exposed portion of the tube contains a valve that can open and close. When open, the valve provides medical personnel with direct access to the vein, allowing for a variety of medical procedures to be performed. When closed, the valve forms an airtight seal which prevents germs or dirt from entering the tube and causing infection or other complications.
With a procedure as invasive as a central line, infection is perhaps the most common complication likely to occur. Not only from germs entering through the tube itself, but also from around the point of insertion. As a result, the insertion area needs to be meticulously cleaned and cared for.
Risks Associated with Central Line Placement
The risks associated with central line placement are very similar to the risks associated with other similar or related procedures such as an internal jugular line placement. These risks include:
- Collapsed lung
- Carotid artery injury
Other uses for Central Line Placement
A central line catheter may be inserted if a patient has veins which are exceptionally difficult for medical personnel to access.
Central venous catheter may be placed in patients who are to receive ongoing chemotherapy.
Patients receiving therapeutic treatments such as blood or platelet transfusions.
What to do if you’re experiencing issues with a Central Line Catheter
If it’s an emergency and you’re not already admitted to a medical facility, then contact your local emergency dispatch, or go to the nearest ER or emergency medicine facility. For non-emergency issues, contact your primary care physician who will advise you of what to do.
Symptoms of infection may include swelling or pain around the insertion point or fever. In some cases a Central Line may cause a blood clot in the vein containing the line. This may be indicated by swelling or soreness, chest pain, chest tightness, or shortness of breath.
Ask an Hospital Procedures Consultant Physician
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