What are the different ports of a triple lumen central venous catheter used for?


I remember that I had a patient with a TLC and the surgeon had a specific set of orders for which lumen was to be used for which drugs and fluids. We had TPN and lipids, and another set of fluids that was also to be used with meds. Does anyone know the correct port for each, and the reason for why?


Where I work, we typically use the distal lumen (the largest one) for blood draws, the medial lumen for TPN/lipids, and the proximal lumen for IV infusions and other drugs. I would double check to see if your hospital has a policy for central lines and assignments for ports, and always look to see if you have specific physician orders for what should go in which port.


I think this may vary depending on the patient setting, what needs to be infused, and some other variables. I agree that the distal port is probably best for blood draws, but I’ve also seen it used for CVP monitoring. As for TPN an lipids, what if the patient doesn’t have those ordered, but does have a need for a dedicated drip line, in addition to another line for fluids, IV pushes, antibiotics, etc. The point is, I think it can change a lot based on the individual needs of the patient, and the most important thing would be to stay consistent with which ports you’re using for which meds/fluids. Also, don’t just blindly trust the port colors, because different manufacturers use different colors to mark different ports, so you definitely have to be familiar with your hospital’s equipment.