Glossary Entry: Subclavian Catheter


Definition: A subclavian catheter is a type of central venous catheter that is inserted into the subclavian vein, a large vein located near the clavicle. It is used to facilitate the administration of medication, fluids, or to measure central venous pressure.

Detailed Description

Types and Variations

Variations: Subclavian catheters may come in different sizes and lengths to accommodate the needs of individual patients. Some variations may include single-lumen or multi-lumen catheters, as well as cuffed or non-cuffed options.


Common Uses: Subclavian catheters are commonly used for long-term intravenous therapy, chemotherapy, parenteral nutrition, hemodynamic monitoring, and frequent blood sampling.

Insertion and Placement

Procedure: The insertion of a subclavian catheter involves sterilizing the insertion site, typically under sterile drapes, and using ultrasound guidance to locate the subclavian vein. The catheter is then inserted using the Seldinger technique, with the tip positioned at the junction of the superior vena cava and the right atrium.

Clinical Considerations

Potential Complications

Risks: Potential complications associated with subclavian catheter placement include pneumothorax, arterial puncture, catheter malposition, infection, thrombosis, and catheter-related bloodstream infections.

Care and Maintenance

Maintenance Requirements: Regular flushing of the catheter to prevent occlusion, proper dressing changes, and monitoring for signs of infection are essential for the care and maintenance of subclavian catheters.

Additional Information

Related Devices

Associated Terms: Related devices may include needleless connectors, extension sets, and syringes for medication administration through the subclavian catheter.

Innovations and Advancements

Recent Developments: Some recent advancements in subclavian catheter technology include antimicrobial catheter materials and improved ultrasound-guided insertion techniques.

Regulatory and Safety Notes

Regulations: The use of subclavian catheters is subject to regulatory guidelines, including proper documentation, maintenance of sterility during insertion, and monitoring for complications.