Glossary Entry: Microcatheter


Definition: A microcatheter is a thin, flexible tube used in medical procedures to deliver medications or contrast agents, access small blood vessels, or perform minimally invasive interventions. It plays a crucial role in achieving precise and targeted delivery in various medical applications.

Detailed Description

Types and Variations

Variations: Microcatheters come in different diameters and lengths, with variations in the tip shape and flexibility to suit specific procedural requirements. Some may have hydrophilic coatings or reinforced structures for enhanced navigation through tortuous vessels.


Common Uses: Microcatheters are commonly used in neurointerventional procedures, peripheral vascular interventions, and oncologic embolization. They enable the selective catheterization of small vessels and the delivery of therapeutic agents to specific target sites.

Insertion and Placement

Procedure: Aseptic technique and fluoroscopic guidance are essential during the insertion of a microcatheter. The Seldinger technique, which involves the sequential placement of a guidewire and dilator, is often employed to facilitate safe and accurate placement within the vasculature.

Clinical Considerations

Potential Complications

Risks: Potential complications of microcatheter use include vessel injury, thrombosis, and catheter dislodgement. Proper monitoring and attentive care are necessary to mitigate these risks.

Care and Maintenance

Maintenance Requirements: Regular flushing with heparinized saline and inspection for kinks or damage are important for maintaining the functionality and integrity of the microcatheter.

Additional Information

Related Devices

Associated Terms: Microguidewire, microcatheter injector system, and microcatheter delivery micropump are examples of related devices frequently utilized in conjunction with microcatheters.

Innovations and Advancements

Recent Developments: Recent advancements in microcatheter technology have focused on enhancing trackability, pushability, and compatibility with advanced imaging modalities, leading to improved precision and safety in interventional procedures.

Regulatory and Safety Notes

Regulations: Microcatheters are subject to regulatory oversight by agencies such as the FDA to ensure their compliance with safety and performance standards. Healthcare providers should adhere to guidelines for safe and ethical use.