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Caring for Your Central Vein Access

It’s important to care for your central venous access device correctly. If you don’t, it may become infected. Then it can’t be used. The tube (catheter) will have to be removed and a new one placed in another vein. Your nurse will show you how to care for your access to help it last.

Follow these tips

  • Wash your hands often with soap and clean water.

  • Try not to touch the catheter. Anyone who needs to touch it should wash their hands first and wear new, disposable gloves.

  • Don't let anything (such as clothing) rub or pull on the catheter.

  • Don't get your catheter wet. Ask your healthcare team for tips on how to shower or bathe.

Man washing hands.

Watching for problems

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these problems:

  • You see a break in the tubing. 

  • The skin around your access bleeds, oozes, or becomes red or sore.

  • You have a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider.

  • The stitches (sutures) or dressing over the catheter become loose or the catheter falls out.

  • An arm becomes swollen or painful.


A central vein access is often used only for a short time. Take good care of it.

Healthcare provider: Nurse

Name _______________________________ Phone _______________________________

Name _______________________________ Phone _______________________________

Online Medical Reviewer: Eric Perez MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Jessica Gotwals RN BSN MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Paula Goode RN BSN MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 4/1/2022
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