A central venous catheter is a tube that is inserted through the skin and enters a vein. It typically terminates in large central vein such as the superior vena cava. It can be used for the administration of medications (e.g. antibiotics or chemotherapy), for hemodialysis, for infusion of nutrition (total parenteral nutrition or TPN), or for blood draws.
There are many different types of central venous catheters which are placed by the interventional radiology division at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, including tunneled catheters (e.g. Hickman or Broviac), implanted ports, hemodialysis catheters, and peripherally inserted central catheters (PICC lines).