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You have had a procedure to give you a tunneled catheter. The catheter is a soft, flexible tube that runs under your skin from a vein in your chest or neck to a large vein near your heart. You may have it for weeks, months, or longer.
You will now be able to get medicine, blood, nutrients, or other fluids with more comfort. You will not be stuck with a needle every time.
You can use the catheter right away. You will be shown how to use it and how to care for it.
You will probably have small dressings where the doctor inserted the catheter and where it exits your body. The area may feel sore for a few days.
The dressing where the catheter was put in usually is taken off in 24 hours. If you have stitches here, they will be removed in 10 to 14 days. The stitches where the catheter exits your body will be removed in about 6 weeks. Sometimes glue is used instead of stitches. The glue will fall off as you heal.
There may be a small ring, or cuff, beneath the skin on the catheter. This helps hold the catheter in place.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to feel better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: September 23, 2018
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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