central venous access catheter (SEN-trul VEE-nus AK-ses KA-theh-ter)listen
A thin, flexible tube that is inserted into a vein in the upper arm, thigh, or neck or below the collarbone. It is guided (threaded) into a large vein near the heart called the vena cava or into the right atrium of the heart. It is used to give intravenous fluids, blood transfusions, and chemotherapy and other drugs, and for taking blood samples. It avoids the need for repeated needle sticks.