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How to Change the Dressing on Your Hickman Catheter

  • How to Change the Dressing on Your Hickman Catheter
    A central line is a type of IV that is inserted into a large vein to carry fluids through a thin tube up near the heart. Many people have central lines during cancer treatment. If you need a central line, your cancer care team will teach you how to care for it at home. This video will show you how to change the dressing that covers your tunneled catheter (or Hickman line). Your dressing should be changed at least every 7 days. If your dressing gets wet or becomes loose, it should be changed immediately. Please contact your cancer care team with any questions.

  • What is a Hickman catheter?

    A Hickman catheter is a small, soft tube inserted in your neck or chest with several channels (called lumens) on the ends. Several inches of the catheter are outside your skin. A Hickman catheter is used for taking and giving blood, and giving medicines that need a larger vein (such as chemotherapy), and other fluids. Patients who receive stem cell transplants often have a Hickman catheter.

    How to change the dressing

    Your Hickman catheter, at the place where it extends out of your skin, is covered by a clear bandage called a "dressing." This dressing is sterile and needs to be changed once a week. If your dressing becomes wet, change it immediately. For this procedure you need to wear gloves.

    See additional information and instructions on caring for your Hickman catheter.

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