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Venous Access Devices (cont.)


Problems that can occur during or after placement of a central venous access device include the following:

  • Pneumothorax - Collapse of the lung because of injury from the needle used to insert the device into the subclavian or jugular veins

  • Hemothorax - Bleeding into the chest because of injury to the blood vessels from the needle at insertion into the subclavian or jugular veins

  • Cellulitis - Infection of the skin around the catheter or port

  • Catheter infection - An actual infection of the device itself inside the vein

  • Sepsis - Release of bacteria into the bloodstream from the device, causing a life-threatening infection (This often results from an infection of the device or from not using sterile techniques when using the device.)

  • Mechanical problems - A device breaks or does not function correctly.

  • Venous thrombosis - A blood clot in the vein that can cause swelling of the involved extremity (This is often called deep venous thrombosis or deep venous thrombophlebitis. This is dangerous because pieces of the clot may break off and travel to the lung, which can be life threatening.)

  • Endocarditis - Bacteria or fungi from the device travel through the bloodstream to the heart valves, where they form an infection that can destroy the valve.

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