What is it?

At the Intensive Care Department, we first monitor the vital functions of seriously ill patients or patients who threaten to develop a life-threatening problem. To accomplish this, we use a number of various monitoring strategies.

One of these techniques is a central venous catheter. This sort of catheter is a thin tube that is placed through the skin of the collarbone, the neck or the groin in one of the body's large hollow veins (vena cava). We use that tube to measure whether there is sufficient fluid present in the body. The thin tube can also be used to administer medication.

Using this central venous catheter, we are able to treat the patient: some medications irritate the veins in the arm or the leg. Other
medications must be administered close to the blood circulation in the heart to achieve a good result. In cases such as these, a thin tube will be placed in a hollow vein in the neck, either under the collarbone or in the groin.

Possible risks

The risks of this procedure are limited and can be treated adequately, if necessary.

The most common risks include:

  • pneumothorax
  • bleeding
  • pain during and after the catheter is placed

There is a risk of infection in the long term. The catheter is checked daily if there is any question about whether a new catheter should be placed.

Centres and specialist areas

Intensive Care

Latest publication date: 05/02/2021