Common Tubes and Lines LVRS
There are a number of tubes, lines, and monitors that you might have after surgery. Drains are used to remove fluids from the body. Lines are used to give fluids and medicines. Monitors are used to measure how your heart and lungs are doing. Some of the tubes, lines, and monitors that are often used after surgery are:
• Arterial Line (or A-line) is a tube in an artery used to measure your blood
pressure. It is also used to draw blood for the lab without having to stickyou
with a needle. This line is in your radial artery in your wrist or brachial artery
in your arm. It is often removed 2 days after surgery.
• Intravenous Catheter (or IV line) is a tube in a vein that can be used to
give fluids and medicines. IV lines can be in many places. Most patients
will have 1-2 small IVs in their hand, wrist, or arm.
• Epidural – This is a small IV-like tube that is placed in your back. The
Epidural provides pain relief with small doses of pain medicine given into
the space that is just outside of the spinal cord. It can provide good pain
control with less of the side effects that are often seen with IV medicines.
• Chest Tube is a tube that goes from your chest to a container. It helps your
lung re-expand after surgery. It drains any fluid or air in the
area around your lung. When the container is attached to suction, you hear
a bubbling sound. The chest tube is taken out a few days after surgery.
• Foley Catheter is a tube that drains urine from your bladder into a bag. You
may feel the urge to void while this tube is in place. This is normal. It is
taken out 2-4 days after surgery.
• Venodynes are soft wraps around your legs that prevent blood clots and
decrease swelling. They are attached to a machine that makes them alternate
from being tight to loose to help your blood flow through your leg veins. They
are removed once you are walking.
• Heart Monitor is a device with wires attached to small pads on your chest.
This device checks your heart rhythm. When you are ready to walk in the
halls, the wires can be attached to a small box to go with you. This is often
removed 4 or 5 days after surgery.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 08/14/2012
Copyright © 08/14/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7397
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