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Permacath (tunneled hemodialysis catheter)

You have just had a tube placed in your chest/neck for hemodialysis (or apheresis). The catheter is held in place by sutures attached to your skin. The catheter is designed with a small cuff around it that is under the skin. After a short time your tissue grows into the cuff, helping to anchor it in place and helping to prevent infection.

  1. Expect to be sore for a few days. You may use acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Motrin for this temporary discomfort. Ice packs may help with swelling and discomfort.
  2. A small amount of blood oozing from the insertion site is normal. If the dressing becomes saturated with blood, hold firm and direct pressure on the insertion site and sit up at a 90-degree angle for 20 minutes.
  3. Prevent tugging or pulling of the catheter. If it is dislodged it may not work properly and may need replacement.
  4. DO NOT use antibiotic ointments over the insertion area. The Dialysis Center will clean and dress your catheter at your dialysis appointments.
  5. Keep the catheter dry. You may not shower. Sitting in a tub is permissible as long as the water level is below the catheter. NO SWIMMING!

You should seek medical attention regarding your catheter if:

  1. Continued bleeding after 20 minutes of firm, direct pressure and sitting upright.
  2. Fever, chills, redness, or sudden swelling around insertion site.
  3. Catheter position changes or catheter pulled out.

If any of these occur you may call our office at 510-784-4714 during regular business hours (8am-5pm M-F). At other times, you may leave a non-urgent message at the same number. If you need urgent attention or advice, you may call your local advice nurse or emergency room. For life-threatening emergencies, call 911.