A central venous catheter is a long, soft plastic tube (usually made of silicone) that is placed via a small cut in the neck, chest, or groin into a large vein in the chest to allow IV fluids and medications to be given over an extended period of time.
Update Date 10/29/2013
Updated by: Kimberly G Lee, MD, MSc, IBCLC, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.