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What is a Broviac&Reg; Catheter?

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  • Written By: Pamela Pleasant
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 18 January 2020
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2020
    Conjecture Corporation
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A Broviac® catheter is a flexible, silicone intravenous tubing that is inserted into a vein in a child’s chest, neck, or groin area. It is placed there and used for administering medications or liquid nutrients. Blood can be extracted through the silicone tubing and then it can be used for testing. Transfusions can also be easily given to the patient, using this catheter. Using the Broviac® catheter can lessen the stress and pain from multiple needle pricks that a child would normally have to endure while under a doctor’s care.

The Broviac® catheter is typically used for pediatric patients who need a catheter for three months or longer. This can be because the child has to have extensive blood drawing or may not have large enough veins for an average intravenous line. With this type of catheter, an intravenous line does not have to be attached at all times. It can be flushed and the child is then able to move around freely without having to carry the intravenous bag.

When a child has a medical condition that requires constant testing that involves using a syringe or needle penetration, it can be stressful and extremely painful. The Broviac® catheter is one way to eliminate this pain. It is made to be used for a long period of time and it can be a safe alternative to traditional testing methods.

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It does not make a difference where the Broviac® catheter is placed because the tubing will progress until it is positioned right above the heart. Typically, it tunnels underneath the skin and comes out at the thigh or chest area. This is done as a preventative measure to stop bacteria from entering the central portion of the catheter. There is also a cuff located on the Broviac® catheter. Over time, the tissues will naturally grow into the cuff making it more stable.

There are daily procedures that have to be done when a child has a Broviac® catheter. A medication called heparin has to be used to flush the catheter to prevent blood clots within the tube. The dressing that covers the catheter also has to be changed frequently. Occasionally, this dressing can become loose, wet, or dirty and it will have to be changed immediately. Daily dressing changes can stop bacteria from entering the area and this is another way to prevent infections.

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