[Gr. kathetēr, a tube for insertion]
A tube passed into the body for evacuating or injecting fluids. It may be made of elastic, elastic web, rubber, glass, metal, or plastic.

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TYPES OF CATHETERS (A) Single-lumen catheter; (B) Double-lumen catheter; (C) Triple-lumen catheter

antimicrobial-impregnated central catheter

An intravenous catheter saturated with antibiotics, designed to decrease the likelihood of colonization or infection of indwelling infusion lines.

arterial catheter

A catheter inserted into an artery to measure pressure, remove blood, inject medication or radiographic contrast media, or perform an interventional radiological procedure.

balloon catheter

A multi-lumened catheter surrounded by a balloon. The balloon may be expanded by injecting air, saline, or contrast medium.

Bozeman-Fritsch catheter

SEE: Bozeman-Fritsch catheter

Broviac catheter

SEE: Broviac catheter

cardiac catheter

A long, fine catheter specially designed for passage through the lumen of a blood vessel into the arteries or chambers of the heart.
SEE: cardiac catheterization

caudal catheter

SEE: Caudal anesthesia.

central catheter

A catheter inserted into a central vein or artery for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.

central venous catheter

A catheter inserted into the superior vena cava to permit intermittent or continuous monitoring of central venous pressure, to administer fluids, medications or nutrition, or to facilitate obtaining blood samples for chemical analysis.

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CENTRAL VENOUS CATHETER A tunneled central venous catheter is inserted through subcutaneous tissue in the chest wall into the jugular or subclavian vein.

Health care professionals must use caution to prevent life-threatening complications when inserting and maintaining a central line. The subclavian approach to the placement of a central line is preferred because femoral placements may be complicated by deep venous thrombosis or infection, and internal jugular sites carry an increased risk of infection. Sterile technique is a requirement during insertion. The skin should be prepared with chlorhexidine-gluconate (2%) or povidone-iodine. Ultrasound guidance improves the likelihood of entering the desired vein without injury to neighboring structures. With or without radiological guidance, the best results are obtained by practitioners who perform the procedure frequently. After the catheter is inserted, it should be firmly sewn to the skin to keep it from migrating in and out of the insertion site. An antibiotic-impregnated patch covered by a sterile dressing should be placed at the insertion site. The catheter should be manipulated as infrequently as possible during its use. Dressing changes are carried out using sterile technique. IV tubing and solutions and injection caps also should be changed as required by the agency’s protocol. Health care professionals are responsible for preventing, assessing for, and managing central venous therapy complications, e.g., air embolism; cardiac tamponade; chylothorax, hemothorax, hydrothorax, or pneumothorax; local and systemic infections; and thrombosis. Documentation should include preprocedure and postprocedure physical assessment of the patient, catheter type and size, insertion site location, x-ray confirmation of the placement, catheter insertion distance (in centimeters), and the patient’s tolerance of the procedure. Maintenance care procedures also should be fully documented. The site should be carefully inspected for inflammation, and any drainage should be cultured. When catheter-related infections are suspected, the catheter tip provides valuable information about infection sources in cases of sepsis. The tip should be cut off with sterile scissors and dropped directly into a sterile specimen container.

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condom catheter

A specially designed condom that includes a collection tube attached to the distal end. The tubing carries urine to a collecting bag. Its use prevents men with urinary incontinence from soiling clothes or bed linens.
Descriptive text is not available for this imageContinual use of this device may excoriate the skin of the penis.

Video for Catheter: External Condom

delivery catheter

A catheter that carries and deploys a prosthesis into an organ.

double-channel catheter

A catheter providing for inflow and outflow.

elbowed catheter

SEE: Prostatic catheter.

electrode catheter

A catheter that can deliver electrical energy to an organ. It can be used as an artificial heart pacemaker.

eustachian catheter

A catheter passed into the eustachian tube through the nasal passages to ventilate the middle ear.

female catheter

A catheter about 5 in (12.7 cm) long, used to pass into a woman's bladder.

Foley catheter

SEE: Foley catheter

glide catheter

A catheter inserted into the ureter to remove impacted kidney stones. A lubricated wire is advanced past the obstructing stone. The glide catheter is mounted on the wire, moved toward the kidney beyond the stone, and used to snare and retrieve the stone.

guide catheter

A catheter that makes it easier to enter that vessel with other devices or instruments. Guide catheters are used to facilitate the placement of lasers, stents, and balloons for angioplasty.

heparin-bonded catheter

A central venous catheter coated with heparin to reduce the formation of blood clots.

Hickman catheter

SEE: Hickman catheter

impregnated catheter

A catheter coated with a medication to prevent complications of prolonged insertion in the body. Commonly used coatings include antibiotics and antiseptics.

indwelling catheter

Any catheter that is allowed to remain in place in a vein, artery, or body cavity.

indwelling bladder catheter

A catheter inserted via the urethra into the urinary bladder. Its usage is associated with frequent infections.

indwelling pleural catheter

SEE: Pleural catheter.

intra-aortic catheter

SEE: intra-aortic balloon counterpulsation

intrauterine pressure catheter

ABBR: IUPC A catheter inserted into the uterus of a woman during labor when labor is protracted, arrested, or when the force of uterine contractions is difficult to monitor indirectly.

intravenous catheter

A catheter inserted into a vein to administer fluids or medications or to measure pressure.

Karman catheter

SEE: Karman catheter

male catheter

A catheter 12 to 13 in (30.5 to 33 cm) long, used to pass into a man's bladder.

midline catheter

A peripherally inserted, long length (typically 8-25 cm long) catheter, placed in the middle third of the upper arm and advanced into the axilla under ultrasound guidance.

pacing catheter

A catheter inserted most commonly into the right side of the heart via the brachial, femoral, internal jugular, or subclavian vein for temporary pacing of the heart. The pacing wires or leads provide the electrical stimulus from an external source (a pulse generator).

perineural catheter

A catheter placed near a nerve and used to administer regional analegesics.

peripherally inserted central venous catheter

ABBR: PICC, PICC line A soft, flexible central venous catheter inserted in a vein in the arm and advanced until the tip is positioned in the axillary, subclavian, or brachiocephalic vein. It may also be advanced into the superior vena cava. A PICC is commonly used for prolonged antibiotic therapy, total parenteral nutrition, continuous opioid infusion, or intermittent chemotherapy.

pharyngeal suction catheter

A rigid catheter used to suction the pharynx during direct visualization.
SYN: SEE: Yankauer suction catheter

pleural catheter

A small chest catheter inserted between the parietal and visceral pleura and used to drain recurrent pleural effusions, e.g., in patients with cancer.
SYN: SEE: indwelling pleural catheter

presternal catheter

A catheter used for peritoneal dialysis that exits the chest instead of the lower abdomen. It is made of two silicone rubber tubes joined at the implantation site by a titanium connector that links its abdominal and presternal parts.

prostatic catheter

A catheter, 15 to 16 in (38 to 40.6 cm) long, with a short elbowed tip designed to pass prostatic obstruction.
SYN: SEE: elbowed catheter

pulmonary artery catheter

A catheter inserted into the pulmonary artery to measure pulmonary artery pressures, pulmonary capillary wedge pressure, and, indirectly, left atrial pressure and cardiac output.

self-retaining catheter

A bladder catheter designed to remain in place, e.g., a Foley catheter.

suprapubic catheter

A catheter that is used to drain urine percutaneously from the urinary bladder. It permits direct drainage through the lower abdominal wall from a surgically fashioned opening located just above the pubic symphysis. Suprapubic urinary diversion is typically, but not exclusively, used as a temporary means of decompressing the bladder when the urethra is obstructed, e.g., in children with congenital deformities of the penis or urethra, or in adults with bladder outlet obstruction. When it is used for this purpose, it is considered a bridge before definitive surgery. SEE: suprapubic aspiration of urine;

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SUPRAPUBIC CATHETER (used to drain urine)

The nurse observes for hemorrhage or prolonged hematuria and signs of local or systemic infection. Aseptic technique is used during dressing or equipment changes. Bladder irrigation is performed as prescribed. Medications, e.g., analgesics, antispasmodics, and bowel stimulants, are administered as prescribed. The patient's ability to micturate is evaluated. Intake and output are monitored and recorded. Fluids are forced unless otherwise restricted to ensure passage of dilute urine.

Swan-Ganz catheter

SEE: Swan-Ganz catheter

Tenckhoff peritoneal catheter

SEE: Tenckhoff peritoneal catheter

triple-lumen catheter

ABBR: TLC A central catheter containing three separate channels or passageways.

tunneled central venous catheter

An intravenous catheter inserted into the subclavian or internal jugular vein and then advanced into the right atrium or superior vena cava. The proximal end is tunneled subcutaneously from the insertion site and brought out through the skin at an exit site below the nipple line. Commonly used tunneled catheters include the Hickman and Broviac catheters.

umbilical vein catheter

A catheter placed in the umbilical vein of an infant to facilitate administration of medicines parenterally or to do an exchange transfusion.

vertebrated catheter

A catheter in sections to be fitted together so that it is flexible.

winged catheter

A catheter with little flaps at each side of the beak to help retain it in the bladder.

Word catheter

A rubber catheter with an inflatable balloon at its end, used to treat cysts or abscesses, e.g., Bartholin gland cysts in the vulva.

Yankauer suction catheter

SEE: Yankauer suction catheter