Throughout the transplant process, you will need a central venous catheter (CVC). A CVC is a tube that is placed in a large vein in your chest with the internal tip extending as far as your heart. The external portion of the tube will have two or three “tails,” referred to as ports or lumens. The catheter is inserted by a doctor using IV sedation

The CVC will be used to administer chemotherapy, medications, IV fluids, blood products, and to draw blood. For autologous transplant patients, this catheter will also be utilized for stem cell collection. If you already have a CVC when you are ready to start the transplant process, your transplant physician will evaluate if you can use your existing catheter or if it needs to be replaced. If you are on blood thinners, please discuss this with your transplant coordinator.

Central Venous Catheter Placement

CVC placements are done in interventional radiology at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s (P/SL) Medical Center. You will receive further instruction by your coordinator regarding check-in times and locations for the procedure.

The night before line placement, you are not allowed to eat or drink anything after midnight. On the day of the procedure, you will go to P/SL. A nurse will obtain your health history, you may have some blood drawn, and/or you may have an EKG. The physician placing the line will meet you prior to the procedure and obtain consent. The line will be placed in a procedure room where you will be given medications so that you have no memory of the procedure (conscious sedation) and a local anesthetic will be used.

After your CVC is inserted, the area around the catheter may feel sore and uncomfortable for a few days. Your transplant physician can give you medication to ease this soreness until it resolves. Please do not take products containing aspirin or ibuprofen while you have your CVC line. Keep in mind that your catheter will require special care. You and your caregiver will be instructed on how to clean and flush your CVC by a transplant nurse.

If you have any of the following symptoms, call your transplant physician immediately:

  • Oozing from the catheter site
  • Uncontrolled Pain
  • Fever (Temperature > 101.0°)
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Swelling in chest, hand, or arm
  • Red streak on chest along CVC tube