Glossary Entry: Tunneled Catheter


Definition: A tunneled catheter is a type of catheter that is surgically implanted beneath the skin to provide long-term access for medications, fluids, or blood products. It is commonly used in patients who require frequent or continuous access to the bloodstream.

Detailed Description

Types and Variations

Variations: Tunneled catheters can include different models such as Hickman, Broviac, or Groshong catheters, each with specific features and applications for different medical needs.


Common Uses: Tunneled catheters are commonly used in scenarios such as chemotherapy, long-term antibiotic therapy, or for patients who require long-term hemodialysis.

Insertion and Placement

Procedure: The insertion of a tunneled catheter involves a surgical procedure to create a tunnel under the skin and place the catheter’s tip into a large vein near the heart. Specific techniques such as the Seldinger technique may be used during the insertion process.

Clinical Considerations

Potential Complications

Risks: Potential complications associated with tunneled catheters include infection, clot formation, and catheter malfunction.

Care and Maintenance

Maintenance Requirements: Proper care and maintenance of the tunneled catheter involve regular flushing with heparin, dressing changes, and catheter care to prevent infection and maintain patency.

Additional Information

Related Devices

Associated Terms: Accessories such as catheter securement devices, infusion pumps, and catheter locks are often used in conjunction with tunneled catheters.

Innovations and Advancements

Recent Developments: Recent advancements in tunneled catheter technology include improved catheter materials and designs for better long-term durability and reduced risk of complications.

Regulatory and Safety Notes

Regulations: The use and maintenance of tunneled catheters are subject to regulatory guidelines and safety standards to ensure patient safety and proper usage.