Many patients require drugs and other treatments to be given into their veins. Sometimes it is possible to use the small peripheral veins in the hands and arms for this purpose. However, for some treatments, such as chemotherapy, the peripheral veins may not be suitable; or it may be that the doctors and nurses find it very difficult to get needles into your peripheral veins. In these circumstances, it is common to insert a central venous line (or catheter) so that treatments can be given directly into a large vein. A central venous line is a long, hollow tube that is inserted into a vein in the neck (internal jugular vein), upper chest (axillary vein) or upper arm. Occasionally the line has to be into the vein at the top of the leg (femoral vein). One end of the catheter (the distal end) is normally positioned near to the entrance to the heart and the other end (the proximal end) will either:
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