Glossary Entry: Central Venous Catheter (CVC)


Definition: A central venous catheter (CVC) is a medical device used to access the central venous system, allowing for the administration of medication, fluids, blood products, and for hemodynamic monitoring.

Detailed Description

Types and Variations

Variations: CVCs come in various types, including single-lumen, double-lumen, and triple-lumen catheters, each with specific applications depending on the clinical needs of the patient.


Common Uses: CVCs are commonly used in critically ill patients, those requiring long-term intravenous therapy, for hemodialysis, and for frequent blood draws in patients with difficult venous access.

Insertion and Placement

Procedure: The insertion of a CVC requires adherence to strict aseptic technique and may involve using ultrasound guidance. The placement of the catheter tip is crucial and needs to be confirmed by chest X-ray to ensure it lies in the correct location within the central venous system.

Clinical Considerations

Potential Complications

Risks: Potential complications associated with CVCs include infection, pneumothorax, arterial puncture, and thrombosis.

Care and Maintenance

Maintenance Requirements: CVCs require meticulous care and maintenance to minimize the risk of infection and complications, including daily site inspection, dressing changes, and regular flushing of the lumens with heparinized saline.

Additional Information

Related Devices

Associated Terms: Other related devices often used in conjunction with CVCs include guidewires, dilators, and catheter securement devices.

Innovations and Advancements

Recent Developments: Recent technological advancements have led to the development of antimicrobial-coated CVCs, reducing the risk of catheter-related bloodstream infections.

Regulatory and Safety Notes

Regulations: CVC placement and maintenance must adhere to strict regulatory guidelines to ensure patient safety and minimize the risk of complications.