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Pediatric General & Thoracic Surgery

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Central Venous Access

What is a central line?

A central line is an intravenous catheter or IV placed into a large vein. A central line is needed to give the medical team access to a large vein that can be used to give fluids, measure the amount of fluid in the body, or to give medication that might be irritating to smaller veins. Your child will be sedated for the central line insertion. Central lines are inserted in the operating room. In some situations, central lines are inserted at the bedside or in the treatment room. Everyone who uses this line will wear gloves. Cleaning the line with Betadine and alcohol should be done before each use. A sterile dressing change will be done around the insertion site on a regular basis to prevent infection.

Where is a central line placed?

The pediatric surgery team may choose one of these sites to insert your child's central line:

  • subclavian vein (chest)
  • femoral vein (groin)
  • jugular vein (neck)

Because a central venous catheter may be more difficult to place, problems can sometimes arise. These can include injury to nearby arteries, the lung and other structures. If your child will be going home with a central line, teaching and instruction will be given for care of the catheter.

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Children' s Memorial Hermann Hospital
6411 Fannin St.
Houston, TX 77030

Phone: (713) 222-5437

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This information, although based on a thorough knowledge and careful review of current medical literature, is the opinion of doctors at The University of Texas Medical School and is presented to inform you about surgical conditions. It is not meant to contradict any information you may receive from your personal physician and should not be used to make decisions about surgical treatment. If you have any questions about the information above or your child's care, please contact our doctors.