Proper care and maintenance of a temporary dialysis catheter is crucial to prevent infection, and other complications, and to ensure proper function. Only trained dialysis staff should be allowed to care for dialysis catheters. If applicable, patients should be taught proper hygiene to help prevent infection.
A temporary dialysis catheter will be placed in one of two locations: the femoral vein, or the internal jugular vein. The ports of the catheter must be flushed with Heparin or Citrate to keep them patent, and caps should be firmly in place. The patient should be encouraged to not allow any pulling or tugging to occur.
A dialysis catheter should always have an intact dressing. The dressing should be changed at least every seven days, with each treatment, when damp or soiled, if loose, or if there is a problem at the site that requires close inspection. Before applying a new dressing, the skin should be disinfected using either chlorhexidine, or povidone iodine solution. Povidone iodine ointment or mupirocin ointment should be placed at the catheter exit site, and then a dry gauze dressing should be secured firmly.
Patients should be cautioned to monitor for signs and symptoms of infection, any bleeding from the site, or any swelling.
With effective care and maintenance, infection and other complications can be avoided, and a dialysis catheter will work optimally for the life of the product.