If you or a loved one has a chest port catheter, also known as a central line, central venous catheter (CVC), Hickman catheter, or tunneled venous catheter, you may be wondering how life will be with this new medical device, specifically how to avoid post-surgery complications. Depending on your treatment, you may have to live with this for weeks, months, or years. Your surgeon will give you some instructions on how to care for your catheter or port, as well as the potential side effects (e.g., bleeding, clots, and blockages). One specific kind of side effect is a surgical site infection.
In the realms of medical equipment sales, oncology, and long-term hospital stays (e.g., being in the intensive care unit (ICU)), the reduction of catheter infections has become an important topic because this kind of infections can become blood infections, known as catheter-related bloodstream infections (CRBSI) This type of infection most commonly occurs in ICUs, but you should still be cautious when it comes to taking care of your catheter. The following are a few tips from Cancer.net for proper hygiene and care of your catheter.
- Flush your catheter with sterile fluid daily. This helps to keep your catheter clean. You can use an IV service if you don’t feel comfortable at first.
- Take special care of your catheter tip if it is outside of your skin.
- Before you touch the catheter, wash your hands.
- Keep the area around the catheter from being submerged underwater.
- Keep the catheter top or clamps tight to keep air out. This is not necessary during treatment.
- Make sure to follow the instructions given to you by your physician on bandage cleaning and cleaning the catheter area.
- When the catheter tip’s cap is off, do not touch it.
- Make sure the catheter isn’t broken or cut.
If you start to experience the following symptoms, you may have a problem with your catheter or port and will need to contact your physician immediately. Some of these symptoms are a sign of an infection.
The catheter area becomes bruised, painful, red, swollen, or warm.
You have a fever higher than 101 F.
Your catheter leaks.
Your catheter can’t be flushed and seems blocked.
You start to experience dizziness or shortness of breath.
To help keep your catheter port in place, BODHE’s innovative therapeutic medical apparel can bring both stability and comfort. BODHE Protective Shirt for Women and the BODHE Protective Shirt for Men help to protect you and your catheter port. This patent-pending medical apparel can also reduce the likelihood of a surgical site infection as well as help to prevent device erosion and decrease the friction between you and your central line. For however long you need to have your CVC, BODHE’s medical apparel can help bring more ease and mobility to your life.