A central venous access catheter is a tube that is inserted beneath your skin so there is a simple, pain-free way for doctors or nurses to draw your blood or give you medication or nutrients. When you have a central venous access catheter, you are spared the irritation and discomfort of repeated needlesticks. In Interventional Radiology, placement of a central venous catheter can usually be performed with moderate sedation and local anesthetic.
Tunneled small-bore catheters, which are often referred to as Hohn, Hickman or Broviac catheters, are frequently used for infusion of antibiotics or other medications, nutritional supplements and chemotherapy treatments.
Peripherally inserted central catheters (also called PICC lines) are placed in the veins of the upper arms. They are easily removed and are used when venous access is required for weeks up to a few months.
Tunneled dual-lumen catheters are placed in patients requiring stem cell transplant or for other indications that require larger flow volumes than can be provided by a small-bore catheter.
Tunneled dialysis catheters are placed in patients who require hemodialysis. These catheters are specially designed for rapid flow of blood to and from the dialysis machine.
Implantable ports are most frequently used for cancer chemotherapy or for patients with diseases for which there will be a long-term need for frequent venous access.