Central Venous Catheter Placement and Removal

A central venous catheter (CVC) is a soft, sterile catheter that enters your blood stream through a large vein. Most commonly the internal jugular, subclavian, or femoral vein.

A CVC can make a huge quality of life difference in a person receiving Interventional Radiology procedures and we want the best options to be available to our patients. CVC is a better option for patients who are receiving long term care. While an IV must be removed after a short period, a CVC can be placed and used for weeks or even months. This allows our physicians to inject medications, perform procedures, and withdraw blood for testing with relative ease and less discomfort to you. Our experienced doctors will ensure that the CVC is placed quickly and easily, allowing you to move on with the rest of your treatments with minimum discomfort and disruption in your life.

How to Prepare for the Procedure

Blood-thinning medication - If you take a bloodthinning medication you may need to stop before your procedure. Your physician will discuss with you what steps will need to be taken prior to the procedure.

Important - If you have ever had a heart stent, prosthetic heart valve, or pulmonary embolism, or if you have atrial fibrillation with a history of stroke, contact the provider who prescribes your bloodthinning medication and ask how to change your dose before the procedure.

Diabetes - If you have diabetes and are taking insulin or oral diabetes medication, your physician will explain how to hold or adjust your dose for the day of your procedure.

Sedation - A conscious sedation will be used during the procedure. Which means you will still be able to talk to the nurse and doctor in the room but will feel very relaxed and may not remember everything related to the procedure.

Anesthesia - Is a state of controlled, temporary loss of sedation or awareness that may be used during your procedure so please notify your physician if you:

  1. Have needed anesthesia for basic procedures in the past
  2. Have sleep apnea or other breathing problems
  3. Use high doses of painkillers
  4. Have severe heart, lung, or kidney disease
  5. Cannot lie flat on your back for about 1 hour because of back or breathing problems
  6. Have a hard time lying still during medical procedures
  7. Weigh more than 300 pounds

Make plans for someone to drive you home after the procedure and stay with you for the rest of the day

The Day of Your Procedure

Take all your usual prescriptions. Do not skip them unless instructed by your medical provider.

Do not take vitamins or other supplements.

No food 8 hours prior to procedure. Only clear liquids.

Do not take anything by mouth 2 hours before the procedure.

Central Venous Ports and Catheters

The insertion of a venous access device involves the placement of a soft catheter through though your skin and into a vein. Some numbing medicine will be injected in the skin over the site that will be used before the catheter is inserted. Intravenous medications may also be given to you to make you more comfortable and relaxed. This is known as moderate sedation. Once the catheter has been inserted into the skin, it will either be tunneled under the skin until it reaches the designated vein or inserted directly into the vein and then advanced through the blood vessels to the proper location. If a port is placed, a small incision will be made to insert it under the skin, and the incision is closed with sutures. Tunneled and non-tunneled catheters are held in place with sutures.

To assist with proper location of the catheter, contrast material (X-ray dye) may be injected through the catheter and X-ray pictures are taken. You may be asked to hold your breath for several seconds as these pictures are taken. During the injection of x-ray contrast material, you may experience a warm feeling or a strange taste in your mouth. Both sensations are temporary and will go away soon. Expect the procedure to take about 30 minutes.

What to Expect After the Procedure?

You will be taken to recovery where you can expect to rest for 1-2 hours until your sedative wears off.

Once the sedative wears off, a nurse will inform you on about what activities you can do and teach you how to take care of your central venous catheter.

The nurse will also give you other important instructions to follow and answer any questions you may have.

At this time, you can have your escort take you home.

Complications with this procedure are rare but if they occur your physician may have you transported to a hospital for overnight observation.

What to Expect When you Get Home?

Relax and rest for the next 24 hours.

Do not drive a car or use machinery.

Do not drink alcohol.

Minor pain with a CVC placement or removal, is normal.

You may take Ibuprofen 400mg every 4-6 hours for pain and apply an ice pack no longer than 15-20 minutes at a time.

Resume other prescribed medications once you can eat.

Do not shower or bathe for 24 hours. The Envita staff will change the dressing every week, and if it becomes soiled.

Can the Catheter be Removed?

Yes, we will remove the catheter for you when your treatment has been completed or if other complications arise. You will only need local anesthetic for the removal procedure.

What is the Risk of a CVC?

With all medical procedures there are some risks. However, CVC placement and removal are simple procedures with minimal risk. The most common problems after placing a CVC include:

Arrhythmia, a condition in which the heart beats with an irregular or abnormal rhythm.


Infection. Following CVC placement, there is a risk for infection after placement.

Improper functioning. This may occur if the catheter moves or a clot forms at the tip.

There are additional risks that are less common that your physician will cover prior to the procedure. The physician will answer any questions you may have.

When to Contact my Physician?

Call your physician right away if:

There is increased or severe bleeding

Redness, swelling, or tenderness around the catheter or neck that gets worse

Fever higher than 101.5 Fahrenheit or chills

New shortness of breath or chest pains



Envita’s Promise

EnvitaIR™ is comprised of an expert team of interventional oncologists who are among the most qualified in the country at the combination of conventional and natural medicine. We wish to offer you the most sophisticated and advanced medical techniques that science has to offer combined with holistic and supportive natural medicine to target your whole healthcare needs. If you have any further questions or concerns about the Central Venous Catheter procedure, please do not hesitate to ask your Envita nurse or Physician for further clarification.

Why You Should Choose Envita Interventional Radiology

This is a very exciting time for cancer treatment and the work that we are doing here at Envita Interventional Radiology. Contact us today if you have further questions, our interventional radiology oncology team is here to provide guidance and give you an advantage to the approach of treating your cancer.

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