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Caring for Your New Central Venous Catheter (CVC) for Dialysis

​​​After the new CVC is inserted, the area around your catheter may be sore for 1 to 2 days. The stitches in your neck will be taken out in about 2 weeks. The stitches in your chest will be taken out in 6 to 8 weeks. If any of your stitches fall out, call your dialysis unit right away because you will need new stitches. Be careful not to touch the skin around the catheter and always keep your CVC covered with a dressing.

Be careful when you move your catheter during the first month. When the area around your catheter has healed, you can move normally.

​General precautions

  • DO NOT shower until your doctor or nurse says you can.
  • DO NOT put the catheter site or caps in water (e.g., in a bathtub, hot tub, or pool).
  • Never use scissors, pins, or other sharp objects near the CVC or other tubing.
  • Keep your catheter clamped when it's not being used.
  • To prevent infection, wear a mask when your nurse changes your dressing or connects you to dialysis.

When to call your access nurse

Call the access nurse if:

  • your CVC moves and if there is bleeding, cover the spot with gauze and put pressure over the access site. If the bleeding does NOT stop in 10 minutes call 911. Do not push the line back in.
  • your CVC falls out and there is bleeding, apply pressure just above your collar bone where the line had entered the vein in your neck. If the bleeding does NOT stop in 10 minutes, call 911.
  • your CVC site becomes red, hurts, or is draining. This might mean you have an infection.
  • you have a temperature over 38 °C (100.3 °F) with or without chills.

Note: on weekends or after 4 pm, please proceed to the emergency department.

Access Nurse Phone Numbers

Calgary: (403) 944-8474

Edmonton: (780) 407-8412

Lethbridge: (403) 388-6599

Medicine Hat: (403) 529-8807​​

This material is for information purposes only. It should not be used in place of medical advice, instruction and/or treatment. If you have questions, speak with your doctor or another healthcare provider.

Current as of: April 18, 2019

Author: Kidney Strategic Clinical Network, Alberta Health Services