Portal Vein Catheter (PVC)

Available in: Rats Anesthetics Analgesic
Pre-Operative Procedures Intra-Operative Care Post-Operative Care

Surgical Preparation

The animal is anesthetized and clipped over the abdominal region and at the nape. Sterile eye lubricant is placed in both eyes, and the clipped skin area over the abdominal wall is surgically prepared. The animal is placed in dorsal recumbency on a surgery board fitted with a sterile board drape. Analgesic is administered.

Surgical Description

The surgical site is draped with a sterile drape. To expose the portal vein, ventral, midline longitudinal incisions are made to the skin and abdominal wall at the midabdominal level. Padded retractors are used to increase surgical visibility. A dissecting scope may be required for the remainder of this procedure. Temporary ligatures are applied to the vessels associated with the portal vein. A small hemostat or needle holder is used to weight the ligatures during the procedure to control bleeding. A micro clamp is applied to the portal vein below where the incision will be. The incision is made to the vein, and both ends of the “T” portion of the catheter inserted. Suture is used to anchor the catheter to the vein. The catheter is checked for patency, and the clamp and temporary ligatures are removed. Sterile gauze and cotton tipped applicators are used to control excess bleeding. Tissue adhesive is used to control any blood seepage around the vascular incision site. A small amount of saline is pushed through the catheter. The abdominal cavity is flushed with sterile saline.

Surgical Closing

The ventral abdominal incision is closed with approved closing materials and the catheter is tacked to the abdominal wall. The animal is turned to permit access to the dorsal area where the catheter will be tunneled through to an exit site on the nape. The clipped area of the nape is surgically prepared, and a small (approximately 2-7 mm), midline incision is made to the skin between the shoulder blades. The catheter is tunneled under the skin and accessed through the incision at the nape. A small amount of saline is pushed through the catheter before it is filled with a locking solution and the catheter is plugged. The ventral and dorsal incisions are closed with approved closing materials (suture or stainless steel clips), and the catheter plug is anchored to the closing material. Excess catheter is tucked under the skin, and the surgery sites are treated with an approved disinfectant followed by an alcohol swabbing.


A standard sham PVC model is prepared as described above with regards to surgical site preparation, exposure of the portal vein, tunneling, wound closing, and surgical site disinfection; however, no dissection occurs and no ties or catheters are inserted.