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Glossary Term

central venous access catheter     (SEN-trul VEE-nus AK-ses KA-theh-ter)

A device used to draw blood and give treatments, including intravenous fluids, drugs, or blood transfusions. A thin, flexible tube is inserted into a vein, usually below the collarbone. It is guided (threaded) into a large vein above the right side of the heart called the superior vena cava. A needle is inserted into a port outside of the body to draw blood or give fluids. A central venous access catheter may stay in place for weeks or months and helps avoid the need for repeated needle sticks. There are several types of central venous access catheters.