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CVADs: Uses, types, selection, and complications (1 of 5)

CPD Hours



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Critical care and emergency nursing
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Central venous access devices (often referred to as CVADs or central venous catheters/CVCs) are invasive devices used in hospital and community healthcare settings to deliver fluids, medication, and parenteral nutrition, support frequent blood sampling, and allow for the monitoring of central venous pressure.

CVADs may be preferred to peripheral intravenous catheters as they provide direct access to the large vessels in the central venous system, offer multiple, larger lumens, are safe to be used at home, and can be used in the short or long term.  

Despite their advantages, CVADs can have a number of complications.

Nurses must understand the general principles of CVADs and best practice for maintenance of CVADs to prevent complications and optimise outcomes for patients with CVADs.

This course is aimed at all nursing and midwifery practitioners who are who are involved in the care of people with a CVAD.

This course consists of 5 modules, and it is intended that participants complete the modules in order, moving from one to the next. The 5 modules are:

  1. CVADs: Uses, types, selection, and complications (1 of 5)
  2. CVADs: Post insertion maintenance (2 of 5)
  3. CVADs: Dressing and needleless connector changes (3 of 5)
  4. CVADs: Troubleshooting complications (4 of 5)
  5. CVADs: Safe removal (5 of 5)

Learning Objective

At the end of this module participants will be able to:

  • Discuss what central venous access devices (CVADs) are.
  • List the indications for CVADs.
  • Identify the different types of CVADs used.
  • Discuss how selection of a particular type of CVAD is determined.
  • List the common complications arising from the use of CVADs.

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