Central Venous Line Insertion

Also known as: central venous catheter, central line placement, placement of a central venous catheter.

What is central venous line insertion?

Central venous line insertion is a procedure used to insert a catheter line into a large vein near the heart. The tube is used to deliver nutrients, fluids, medicine or blood to the body as part of a medical procedure or to treat a medical condition.

What happens during the procedure?

Under ultrasound guidance a needle is inserted into a large vein in the arm, groin, neck, or chest. A wire is passed through the needle into the vein and the catheter is inserted threading over the wire.  Once the catheter is implanted securely, it can be used to deliver blood, medicine, nutrients or fluids into the vein. Sedation, local and/or through a vein, may be needed before the procedure.

Is any special preparation needed?

The patient may need to avoid food, drink and medications for a period of time before the procedure.

What are the risk factors?

Bleeding or blood clots, infection, a blocked catheter line, collapsed lung, chest pain, trouble breathing or an uneven pulse are potential risks of central venous line insertion.

Reviewed by: Balagangadhar Totapally, MD

This page was last updated on: March 26, 2019 12:27 PM