FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – CENTRAL LINE EDITION

Our amazing followers and readers are always asking me about Adeline’s Central Line or BROVIAC®so I figured I would compile all the questions and put them in one place.  If something is not covered here, please reach out to me because I would love to hear from you.  


What is a Central Line?

AKA Central Vein Access Device (CVAD), Central Vein Line (CVL), Central Vein Catheter (CVC)

It’s primarily used to infuse medication and fluids into a large vein without the discomfort of a needle being inserted into the vein. Again, the catheter can be used to give medications, fluids, blood products, and to take blood samples for testing.

FAQs - Central Line Edition - shegotguts.com

What are the types of Central Lines? 

A PICC:  (peripherally inserted central catheter) line goes into your arm and runs all the way to a large vein near your heart. The other end may have one or two tubes, called lumens, that stick out of your arm just above your elbow. That’s where the medicine goes.  This is used when you need medication, fluid, or nutrition longer than an IV but maybe less than 3-6 months.

Port: Also called an implanted port, this is a thin tube with one or two discs on one end. It goes entirely under your skin, discs and all. You usually get it in your chest, just under your collarbone. To give you treatment, your doctor places a needle through your skin and into the disc. To keep you from feeling pain, you can get a cream to rub on and numb the area where the needle goes in.To get a port, you need a short, minor surgery.

*Tunneled CVC: Under general anesthesia, the catheter is inserted by a surgeon under the skin of you/your child’s chest wall and into a large vein that leads to the heart. rimarily used to infuse medication and fluids into a large vein without the discomfort of a needle being inserted into the vein. Again, the catheter can be used to give medications, fluids, blood products, and to take blood samples for testing.

Image Credit

Image Credit


What is a BROVIAC®

Adeline has a BROVIAC®  which is a specific brand name for a CVC. It’s a catheter and is a long, hollow tube made of soft, rubber-like material called silicone, with an opening called a lumen. This catheter is commonly referred to as a central venous catheter because it is inserted into the large vein leading directly into the heart.  Extremely similar to HICKMAN, but a BROVIAC® is smaller.

FAQs - Central Line Edition - shegotguts.com

What is TPN (AKA HP or Parental Nutrition)?

In the most basic terms, HPN or Home Parental Nutrition provides nutrition [usually] through a central vein, for people who cannot eat or absorb enough food through by mouth or via a feeding tube to maintain a healthy nutritional status.  It is often called TPN (Total Parental Nutrition) referring to nutrition that provides all calories intravenously.  HPN is commonly mislabeled TPN and even I’m guilty of doing just that. The difference between TPN and HPN is that TPN is usually administered in a clinical setting and accounts for all of the patient’s nutrition while HPN is administered at home and accounts for some amount less than all.  HPN is a sterile liquid chemical formula and can contain protein, carbohydrates, fat, minerals, electrolytes, and vitamins.  It is delivered via a central line access device (CVAD) or an IV catheter (needle in the vein) directly into the bloodstream so it bypasses the normal digestion in the GI (gastrointestinal) tract.  You can read more about how it impacts our life. 

FAQ central line - shegotguts.com

Why does she have a Broviac? 

Because of injuries she had to her gut in her early life (NEC, colonic stricture, malrotation/volvulus), Addie has short bowel syndrome. This causes most of the issues she has with eating and growing, Even with the feeding tube and an elemental formula, she can’t tolerate enough calories to grow and she gets sick if we try to give her enough through the tube to support her growth.   Aside from volume tolerance issues, she’s unable to absorb all the calories, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals she needs through her digestive system.  Even when receiving more than enough calories via feeding tube, because of lack of absorption, she is malnourished and her cells are “starving”.  The biggest reason she needs parental nutrition is to live, it’s literally and figuratively her life line.

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