What is a central catheter used for and when might it be needed? What is the difference between a tunnelled and nontunnelled catheter?



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The central venous catheter is a tube that is inserted in a vein of the patient's chest to provide the transport of remedies and food into the patient's body. The central venous catheter is recommended when the period of administering the medical treatment becomes prolonged.

For example, a central venous catheter can help to administrate antibiotics for a long period of time, from weeks to months. It is also very useful when the patient needs kidneys dialysis several times a week. The use of  a central venous catheter is also recommended when the patient is not able to eat, hence, the food is provided through the tube.

The tunneled central catheter is mainly recommended for a prolonged period of access to the vein. The tunneled catheter works more efficiently than the peripherally inserted central catheter because it is larger than PICC and its design has a belt that triggers the growth of tissue around the belt, making the position of the catheter stable.

The non-tunneled central catheter is designed to be used in larger veins such as the groin's femoral vein, the neck's jugular vein or the chest's subclavian vein.


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