Catheter fracture: A complication in venous access devices

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Catheter fracture is an uncommon yet potentially life-threatening complication of venous access devices (VADs). Catheter fracture generally occurs when long-term silicone catheters are placed medial to the mid-clavicular line into the subclavian vein. Symptoms such as inability to infuse fluids, difficulty drawing blood, and an indentation of the catheter on chest radiography are associated with pinch-off sign. Pinch-off sign is a common precursor to catheter fracture. Several case studies are presented to demonstrate the varying presentations of catheter fracture. Nursing care of patients demonstrating these symptoms focuses on early recognition and treatment. Prevention focuses on education concerning proper placement techniques for physicians who insert these catheters.

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