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Are you on a Central Venous Catheter?

Then take few minutes to read this!

What is a central line catheter?

A central line catheter also known as a central venous catheter (CVS) is a catheter that is placed in a large vein in the neck (jugular and subclavian), chest (Hickman’s Catheter and Dialysis catheter), or groin (femoral). Few of them may have a catheter known as the Peripherally inserted central line catheter (PICC).

How is the central line different from intravenous catheters?

Intravenous catheters are inserted in small veins in the arms and hands whereas central lines are inserted in a sterile manner into the major veins (like the jugular vein, subclavian vein and the femoral vein) which are close to the heart.

Intravenous catheters need to be changed every 72 hours, on the other hand central line catheters can be used for as long as 6 months if there is no evidence of infection.

Why should you be on a central line catheter?

  • It is mainly inserted for patients in intensive care unit.

  • For patients receiving drugs like chemotherapy for a long period of time.

So in such patients the central line is used

  • To administer medications, IV fluids like Normal saline, Ringer lactate

  • To transfuse blood and blood products

  • To collect blood for medical tests.

What is Central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI)?

A Central line-associated bloodstream infection occurs when microorganisms like bacteria or fungi invade the bloodstream through the central line catheter.

What are the measures taken by the healthcare professionals to prevent CLABSI?

  • Strict infection protocol when inserting the central line is followed. The Morrisons Multiple lumen Catheter is packed in a sterile manner making sure that CLABSI is can be prevented.

  • Strict hand hygiene

  • Central line dressings as per protocol wearing PPE

  • The central line is removed when it is no longer needed.

How will you know if you have CLABSI?

  • You may have redness or swelling over the catheter insertion site.

  • Fever with chills while administering any fluids or medication through the central line.

If this happens, your health care professional will take a blood culture from the central line to rule out any infection.

What can you do as a patient to prevent CLABSI?

  • Ask your healthcare professional if the central line is indicated or necessary for you.

  • Make sure your healthcare professional follows sterile, aseptic techniques while handling the line and while doing the dressing. Remind them if you are due for a dressing change.

  • While bathing or using the washroom, make sure the dressing which covers the insert site doesn’t get wet. Dampness is a major source of infection.

  • Do not touch the tube or allow any visitors to the tube.

  • If you develop fever with chills or redness over the insertion site, inform your health care professional immediately.


Centers for disease control and prevention retrieved from


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