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A tunnelled catheter is a soft, flexible tube that runs under your child's skin from a vein in your child's chest or neck to a large vein near the heart. This catheter is a type of central venous line.
The catheter is used to give your child medicine, fluids, nutrients, or blood products/components for up to several weeks or more. The fluids are put through the central line so that they move quickly into your child's bloodstream. The same line can be used for a while, so your child isn't poked with a needle every time.
The line also can be used to take out blood for tests.
Usually a short section of the line stays outside of the body. The place where the line leaves the skin is called the exit site. Sometimes the line has two or three ends so your child can get more than one medicine at a time. These ends are called lumens. The end of each lumen is covered with a needleless connector.
Before placing the catheter, the doctor may give your child medicine to sleep or feel relaxed. Your child may feel a little pain when the doctor gives the medicine. The doctor will then insert the catheter.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Procedures can be stressful for both your child and you. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your child's procedure.
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Adaptation Date: 2/28/2022
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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