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.
Review Date 5/30/2020
Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.