A central line is a small tube that’s put into the large vein in the chest or neck, just above the heart. It makes it easier to give you medicines, blood transfusions and take blood samples. It also lowers the number of needle pokes you’ll need.
Some patients may already have an implanted port. This is a type of central line where the catheter is completely under the skin. A nurse pokes a needle through your skin to connect to the implanted port. Your doctor will tell you if the port is okay for your transplant, or if a central line is also needed.
It’s important to keep your central line and the skin around it clean and dry to prevent infections. Your transplant team will teach you and your caregiver how to keep it clean when you’re at home. They will also teach you how to protect it when you shower or bathe. It’s also important that you never use scissors near your central line.
Tell your doctor if you see any signs of infection around your central line. Some signs of infection include:
- Fluid draining around where the tube enters your body
- Pain, redness or swelling along the tube under your skin
- Chills after flushing the line
A central line will be used throughout the treatment process for many reasons, such as getting IV medicines and blood transfusions.