Medical Catheters

Medical catheters are a widely used tool in clinical medicine, they are part of a medical device that is used to transfer fluids, gases or access instruments inside the body. Catheters can come in many varieties depending on their purpose, design and material. Here are some common types of medical catheters and their applications:

Venous catheters

  • Peripheral venous catheters: used for short-term intravenous infusion of fluids, medications, or blood collection.
  • Central venous catheter: Inserted into a large vein (such as the internal jugular vein or subclavian vein) for long-term infusion of fluids, nutritional support, or blood pressure monitoring.

Urethral catheter

  • Urethral catheter: Used for patients with urinary disorders to assist urination or to measure urine output.

Respiratory catheter

  • Endotracheal tube: Used to access the trachea through the larynx during anesthesia or resuscitation to maintain an open airway.
  • Nasal catheter: used to provide additional oxygen, usually inserted through the nose.

Abdominal catheter

  • Abdominal dialysis catheter: Used for peritoneal dialysis treatment to introduce and drain dialysis fluid into and out of the abdominal cavity.

Tube feeding catheter

  • Nasogastric catheter: It is inserted through the nasal cavity into the stomach and is used for feeding or drug administration.
  • Gastrostomy tube (PEG tube): inserted directly into the stomach for long-term feeding.

Cardiac catheters

  • Cardiac catheter: Used for cardiac catheterization procedures to measure pressure in the heart chambers, cardiac output, diagnose structural problems of the heart, or for interventional procedures.

Drainage Tube

  • Thoracic drainage tubes: Used to remove air in cases of pleural effusion or pneumothorax.
  • Abdominal drains: used to remove fluid from the abdominal cavity after surgery.

Precautions for catheter maintenance and use:

  • Asepsis: Strict aseptic technique should be followed when inserting and manipulating catheters to prevent infection.
  • Regular replacement: certain catheters require regular replacement to minimize the risk of infection and blockage.
  • Monitoring and care: Regularly monitor catheter position and function, watch for signs of local or systemic infection, and provide appropriate care.

Medical catheters are designed and used with patient comfort, safety, and therapeutic goals in mind. Proper selection and use of catheters is critical to patient outcomes and safety.

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