Central Line Catheter

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An interventional radiologist performs this procedure, inserting this IV line into a large vein for long-term use, using an ultrasound machine and/or x-rays to locate your veins.

The tip of this catheter is usually placed in the superior vena cava, close to your heart, but can also be placed in your:

  • Upper arm veins
  • Subclavian vein in your chest
  • Internal jugular vein in your neck
  • Femoral vein in your groin

The Need for a Central Line Catheter

You may need a central line for:

  • Chemotherapy
  • IV antibiotics and/or pain medications
  • Long term IV-nutrition
  • Frequent blood draws
  • Dialysis or plasmapheresis

Before the Procedure

If you are already a patient in the hospital, your doctors and nurses will provide you instructions. If you are to be admitted to the hospital or discharged home after this procedure, make sure to:

  • Eat no solid food for 6 hours before your scheduled appointment; you may have clear liquids up to 2 hours before your scheduled appointment, unless otherwise instructed.
  • Take your medications as usual.  
  • Let us know right away if you are on glucophage, insulin or a blood thinner.
  • Tell us if you are allergic to x-ray or contrast dye.
  • Bring all your medications with you on the day of the procedure.
  • You will need someone to drive you home after the procedure.

What Happens After The Procedure?

After the procedure, you will be taken to our recovery room. You may eat your usual diet, unless you are nauseated or sedated, or you are scheduled to have other tests. Once the anesthetic wears off, you may have some discomfort for a day or two. Before you are discharged from the hospital, a nurse will provide instructions and supplies on how to care for your catheter.