Reasons for removing a CVC

  • Catheter-related infection
  • Catheter in place beyond the recommend time
  • Persistent catheter occlusion
  • Damaged catheter


  • Aseptic techniques must also be followed when removing a tunnelled CVC and until the site is fully healed.
  • Following removal of the sutures, patients should be positioned with a 30% head-down tilt, both during and following the removal of the catheter, to reduce the risk of an air embolus. 
  • A thin, polyurethane adhesive-coated dressing, which is permeable to water and oxygen, but not bacteria, should be applied to prevent scabbing and facilitate epidermal regeneration.

Possible complications when removing tunnelled CVCs include:

  • Air embolism
  • Catheter fracture with embolism
  • Dislodgement of a thrombus or fibrin sheath
  • Haemorrhage/bleeding