Canterbury DHB


Catheter Complications

See CDHB CVAD resource book.

Blockage or Slowing


Signs of occlusion include: variable flow; difficulty in aspirating or flushing; pain on infusion; sluggish flow; withdrawal occlusion. Onset can be sudden or gradual.

Occlusion cannot be managed as an isolated event and includes assessing patient risk factors, characteristics of blood and drugs, types of occlusion, and the way occlusion occurs, e.g.:

Note: All catheters become encased with fibrin soon after placement. This transforms to a fibrous collagen substance (Andris and Krzywda, MedSurg Nursing, August 1999). Therefore occlusions should be treated as they become apparent. Thrombi increase the risk of infection (CVC Occlusion: Successful management Strategies, Rhin, Journal of Intravenous Nursing, Volume 22(65) 1999 p 511-517).

Restoring Catheter Patency

Catheter-Related Thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis may occur in association with a central catheter. This may manifest as a swollen arm on the side of the central line or the catheter simply may not work.


Catheter Breakage

Discuss with Haematologist.

If the catheter accidentally breaks, clamp off the catheter with a pair of artery forceps using gauze to prevent damage to the wall of the catheter by the forceps. Discuss removal with the consultant.

About this Canterbury DHB document (5693):

Document Owner:

Sean Macpherson (see Who's Who)

Issue Date:

January 2019

Next Review:

January 2022


Note: Only the electronic version is controlled. Once printed, this is no longer a controlled document. Disclaimer

Topic Code: 5693