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Caring for Your Central Vein Access

Man washing hands.

It’s important to care for your central venous access device properly. If you don’t, it may become infected. Then it can’t be used. The tube (catheter) will have to be removed and a new one placed in another vein. Your nurse will show you how to care for your access to help it last.

Follow these tips

  • Wash your hands often with soap and clean water.

  • Try not to touch the catheter.

  • Don't let anything (such as clothing) rub or pull on the catheter.

  • Don't get your catheter wet.

Watching for problems

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these problems:

  • You see a break in the tubing. 

  • The skin around your access bleeds, oozes, or becomes red or sore.

  • You have a fever of 100.4°F (38.0°C) or higher.

  • The stitches (sutures) or dressing over the catheter become loose or the catheter falls out.

  • An arm becomes swollen.

A central vein access is often used only for a short time. Take good care of it.

Healthcare provider: Nurse

Name _______________________________ Phone _______________________________

Name _______________________________ Phone _______________________________

Online Medical Reviewer: Donna Freeborn PhD CNM FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Robert Hurd MD
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2016
© 2000-2019 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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