A hemodialysis (HD) catheter is a plastic tube. It is inserted into a large vein--usually either the jugular or subclavian veins (in your neck) or the femoral veins (in your groin). This is done in a short operation, which is generally performed under local anesthetic.
The catheter is positioned so it is half inside and half outside the body.
A double lumen vascular access catheter, the usual kind of HD catheter line, has two separate barrels (or lumens), one for removing blood from the body, and one for returning it after dialysis.
HD catheters may be temporary or permanent. Temporary catheters are often used while patients are waiting for a fistula to be created.
Patients need to keep their catheters clean and dry, and to ensure there is a dressing over the catheter at all times. The hemodialysis nurse teaches patients how to care for the catheter.
May 1, 2006