Catheter Placements Specialist

Kenneth Spearman, MD -  - Vascular & Vein Center

Central Coast Vein & Vascular

Kenneth Spearman, MD

Vascular & Vein Center located in Arroyo Grande, CA

Catheters allow you to receive an extended course of intravenous medication without frequent needle pricks. They also keep you healthy by bypassing problems, such as difficulty swallowing. As an interventional radiologist, Kenneth Spearman, MD, at Central Coast Vein & Vascular specializes in image-guided procedures to precisely insert temporary or permanent catheters. If you need a catheter placement, call the office in Arroyo Grande, California, or schedule an appointment online.

Catheter Placements Q&A

What is catheter placement?

Catheters are rigid or flexible tubes used to drain fluids from your body or to send fluids into your body. For some health conditions and medical treatments, catheters are placed into your body and secured, so they can stay there for ongoing access.

Dr. Spearman inserts several types of catheters, including a nephrostomy catheter, a gastric tube, the PleurX™ drainage catheter, and a peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC line).

When do I need a PleurX drainage catheter?

Your lungs are surrounded by two layers of tissue. The space between the two layers, called the pleural space, is normally filled with a small amount of fluid.

When excess fluid accumulates in the pleural space, a condition called pleural effusion, you develop symptoms such as sharp chest pain, shortness of breath, rapid breathing, and a cough.

Congestive heart failure is the top cause of pleural effusion, but it can also develop due to high blood pressure, a low blood protein count, blocked blood or lymph vessels, an infection, or lung injuries or tumors.

No matter what causes your pleural effusion, you can drain the excess fluid using the PleurX drainage catheter. The PleurX is also used to drain malignant ascites, a buildup of fluid in your abdomen due to cancer.

Dr. Spearman inserts the PleurX drainage catheter through your skin, either into the pleural space or your abdomen. The end of the catheter remains outside your body, allowing you to routinely attach a bottle that pulls out the excess fluid.

What is a gastric tube?

Dr. Spearman places a gastric tube through your abdomen and into your stomach, where it’s used as a temporary or permanent way to give you fluid nutrition. You may need a gastric tube if you have difficulty swallowing, eating, or keeping food down. 

Many medical problems can affect your ability to eat, including a stroke, dementia, multiple sclerosis, cancer, cerebral palsy, and motor neuron disease. Your doctor may recommend a gastric tube if you’re at risk for aspiration pneumonia.

What is a PICC line?

A PICC, or peripherally inserted central venous catheter, gives your doctor a quick way to administer medicine and fluids. 

Dr. Spearman inserts the catheter into a vein in your arm, between your elbow and shoulder, and then guides the catheter through your blood vessel until it reaches the superior vena cava — a central vein that carries blood to your heart.

The catheter usually stays in place for 2-6 weeks and is used to administer a course of medication or medical therapy, such as:

  • Antibiotics
  • Blood products
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Chemotherapy
  • Total parenteral nutrition

Total parenteral nutrition is a medical nutrition therapy in which you get all your nutrients through the PICC.

What is a nephrostomy catheter?

A nephrostomy catheter is used to drain urine directly from your kidneys, preventing the urine from flowing through the ureter and into your bladder and urinary tract. You need a nephrostomy catheter when you have a blockage in your ureter that can’t be bypassed.

Dr. Spearman places the catheter through your skin and inserts it directly into your kidney. One end stays in your kidney, while the other end leaves your body and is attached to an external drainage bag.

If you need a catheter placement, call Central Coast Vein & Vascular or book an appointment online.