Hickman catheter
A thin long tube made of flexible silicone rubber that is surgically inserted into the vena cava, one of the main blood vessels leading to the heart. Depending on the therapy needs, the catheter may have either a single, double, or triple lumen (opening) at the tip. The catheter can be used for drawing blood samples and for giving intravenous fluids, blood, medication, or nutrition and avoids many needle sticks. The catheter is inserted under local (or general) anesthesia. First, a small incision will be made near the collarbone or shoulder. This incision will be the "insertion site." A second incision called the "exit site" will be made between the nipple and midchest. A tunnel will then be made under the skin between these two incisions. The catheter is then pulled through this tunnel from the exit site, to the insertion site, and threaded into the large vein leading to the heart. There is a small Dacron cuff on the catheter between the insertion and exit sites. The cuff serves two purposes: to help hold the catheter in place as the skin heals around it and to help prevent infections by stopping bacteria from entering the tunnel and traveling up to the vein. There is a dressing over the catheter exit site. This dressing needs to be changed periodically. (There is also a dressing over the insertion site near the collarbone or neck which is usually removed after 24 hours.) The catheter needs to be flushed daily with heparin to keep the blood from clotting in the catheter. (With a double- or triple-lumen catheter, one must flush each lumen daily.)

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Hick·man catheter 'hik-mən- n an indwelling venous catheter with a relatively wide bore

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a fine plastic cannula usually inserted into the subclavian vein in the neck to allow administration of drugs and repeated blood samples. The catheter is tunnelled for several centimetres beneath the skin to prevent infection entering the bloodstream. It is used most frequently in patients receiving long-term chemotherapy, particularly infusion regimes (e.g. fluorouracil).

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a type of central venous catheter used for long-term administration of substances such as antibiotics, total parenteral nutrition, or chemotherapeutic agents; it can be used for continuous or intermittent administration and may have either a single or a double lumen.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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