Autologous Transplant — About the Central Line
Going through a bone marrow transplant involves getting a lot of blood tests and receiving a lot of intravenous injections, infusions and transfusions. To avoid the need for repeated needle pokes, a central line is placed either at the start of the chemotherapy or just before the stem cell collection. There are several different types of lines that can be used, but they can be split into two broad groups:
- Lines that are totally embedded under the skin (e.g., "Portacath")
- Lines that come out through the skin (e.g., a "Hickman line")
Lines may have one, two or three tubular cavities or lumens. We usually recommend a two-lumen "RAAF" catheter for patients undergoing an autologous transplant. This is similar to a "Hickman line," but it is slightly thicker and stronger. Central lines may be left in place for a number of years, although they are usually removed sooner. We normally remove a line as soon as patients return home after a transplant when we have finished using it.