We are excited to be shipping out our first orders of port access shirts in August! Currently, they are available for pre-order here. In this blog post, we’ll be talking about one of the treatments that our port access shirts can be useful for: tunneled catheters.
Let’s begin with the basics:
A tunneled central venous catheter is a long, flexible tube.
Are there other names for tunneled catheters?
Tunneled catheters are also called external catheters or central lines.
One end of the catheter is placed in or near the right atrium of the heart. The other end is outside the skin of the chest. The tube tunnels under the skin of the chest, enters a large vein near the collarbone, and threads inside the vein into or near the right atrium of the heart.
The following diagram shows where a tunneled catheter is placed:
You can also see where a tunneled catheter is placed inside a person in this video.
The tunneled catheter placement procedure is done in an operating room while the patient is under general anesthesia.
There is a small cuff on the catheter just behind where it comes out of the skin. This may be felt as a small bump under the skin. Body tissue will heal into this cuff in about three weeks and hold the catheter in place. The area may be tender for one to two days after the catheter is placed, but the soreness should disappear in a few days.
The patient should feel no pain when fluids are put into the end of the catheter hanging outside the body.
A tunneled catheter is used when a person:
When a person needs IV therapy, the IV tubing is connected to the end of the catheter outside the body. The fluid or medicine flows through the IV tubing into the catheter, then into the bloodstream. After treatment is over, the IV tubing is removed and a new cap is placed on the end of the catheter.
There are many benefits to having a tunneled central venous catheter rather than a regular IV. The most important benefit is that it reduces the number of needle sticks. However, it is important not to tell children that having a tunneled catheter means they will never have to be “poked” again, since they may still need needle sticks for some blood tests.
Tunneled catheters are sometimes referred to by their brand name. Broviac, Hickman, and Groshong catheters are some examples of these names.
A tunneled catheter requires special care to prevent infection and blood clots. The site where the catheter exits the body must be clean often (suggested every other day) and a fresh, sterile dressing needs to be applied and taped in place. The site should be checked often for redness, swelling, and drainage, which could be indications of infection and if you see any of these contact your doctor or nurse immediately.
A person with a tunneled catheter may continue most normal activities while the catheter is in place. Showering or bathing is done with plastic or waterproof tape over the dressing. Swimming is strongly discouraged.
Now let’s talk about how our port access shirts work:
The goal of using one of our port access shirt is to access your chest port or central line easily without having to disrobe when you need to access the port, for instance during an infusion session.
Our shirts are made with ultra-soft and comfortable cotton and modal fabric, and no latex or natural rubbers. The antimicrobial treatment is also EPA approved.
Our shirts should be machine washed cold with like colors and tumbled dried low or laid flat to dry. They shouldn’t be bleached.
We hope you found this blog post helpful! If you have questions about tunneled catheters, our port access shirts, or anything else, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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