Central Line | Definition, Types, Uses, Complications, PICC

Central line

Central Line Definition

Central line, also known central venous catheter, central venous line or central venous access catheter is a medical tube placed into a large vein in such places like the neck, chest, groin or arm in order to give either bloods, fluids or medications. Aside the aforementioned uses of central line, it can be inserted in order to do a medical tests quickly.

These catheters are emptied in or near heart in order to allow the catheter to effectively dispense the needed treatment within seconds. These central line can be put in the assigned or required places for weeks or months.

The most common common lime used are the 15-30 cm in length. They have a single or multiple lumens for infusion and are made of silicone or polyurethane.

Where Is Central Line?

A central line is placed into a large vein in such places like the neck, chest, groin or arm.

What Is A Central Line Used For?

Here are some of the things a central line is used for:

  • Central line is used to provide fluids for nutrition and to conduct medical tests.
  • Delivery if certain medications or fluids. Some certain central line with multiple lumens can facilitate simultaneous delivery of medications
  • To give medicines for treatment of pain, infection, or other medical issues.
  • Central line are also used when it’s difficult to maintain or gain venous peripherally in situations such as scarred veins, agitated patients or obesity.
  • Central line is also used for specialized medications.
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What Are Central Line Types

The types of central line that are best depends on the type of patient. They are:

A peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) line:

This type of central line inserted into a vein in the arm through the balisic or cephalic vein rather than a vein in the neck or chest. The basilic vein is usually a better target for cannulation than the cephalic vein because it is larger and runs a straighter course through the arm.

A tunneled catheter:

This is type of central line is surgically placed into a vein in the chest or neck and then passed under the skin. One end of the catheter comes out through the skin so medicines can be given right into the catheter. This helps to prevent infection and ensure stability. This type of central line may be inserted for months or years.

An implanted central venous catheter

This, also called ‘Port A Cath’ is similar to a tunneled catheter, but an implanted port is placed entirely under the skin.

Central Line Equipment List

Below are the central line equipment list that are used for carrying out the central line procedure.

  • Syringe with local anesthetic
  • Scalpel
  • Sterile gel for ultrasound guidance
  • Introducer needle (here 18 Ga) on syringe with saline to detect backflow of blood upon vein penetration
  • Guide wire
  • Tissue dilator
  • Indwelling catheter (here 16 Ga)
  • Additional fasteners, and corresponding surgical thread
  • Dressing
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Central Line Complications

Where Is Central Line Used?

Central Line are mostly found and used in hospital settings and outpatient facilities.

Central Line vs. PICC

A PICC line is a longer catheter that’s also placed in the upper arm. Its tip ends in the largest vein of the body, which is why it’s considered a central line. PICC stands for “peripherally inserted central-line catheter.” A CVC is identical to a PICC line, except it’s placed in the chest or neck.


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