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Pediatric Temporary Central Venous Catheters
A temporary central line is a short-term catheter placed in a vein, either in the neck (the internal jugular vein) or the groin (the femoral vein). Generally, a temporary central line is in place for less than two weeks.
A temporary central line is placed for dialysis (blood filtration to remove chemicals and waste) or apheresis (separation of blood components, usually to obtain stem cells). These therapies require a special catheter to process the blood efficiently. The end of the catheter (called the hub or clave) is outside the skin and the nurse will use that to access the vein, rather than having to place an IV each time.
Using ultrasound and live X-ray (fluoroscopy) for guidance, your child's doctor will insert a special hollow needle into the vein. The catheter will be inserted through the needle, threaded through the vein and positioned so the tip of the catheter is in the large vein that carries blood into the heart. A portion of the catheter remains outside the skin and is stitched (sutured) to the skin in order to secure it. The Interventional Radiology team at Children's National Hospital will always use the least amount of radiation as possible.
No. We will use either IV sedation or general anesthesia so that your child isn't awake. After about 18 years of age, we can place a temporary central catheter while the patient is awake.
The procedure is considered low-risk. However, potential complications include:
- Puncture of adjacent structures, such as other veins, arteries or nerves
- Lung puncture (pneumothorax)
- Catheter breakage (upon removal)
The insertion site may be tender for one to two days.
Do not remove the bandage. It must remain clean and dry at all times. We will give you instructions on what to do if the bandage becomes loose.
Your child will have to avoid activities that may result in a pull to the catheter.
While the line is in place, you may sponge-bathe your child. The line must stay dry at all times.
The catheter can be removed easily and quickly, usually without the need to sedate your child. Your child’s doctor will remove the bandage, cut the stitches and pull out the line. They will apply pressure to the site, to minimize the risk of bleeding and then apply a fresh bandage.
After 48 hours, you may remove the bandage.
Once you remove the bandage, your child may take a bath or shower. Do not submerge the site underwater until the site has healed.
Learn about treatment
Interventional Radiology at Children's National Hospital
Our pediatric interventional radiologists perform a full range of minimally invasive, image-guided procedures to both diagnose and treat disease in infants, children and adolescents. Discover more about the treatment we offer.
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Children’s National interventional radiologists perform a full range of minimally invasive, image-guided procedures to both diagnose and treat disease in infants, children, and adolescents.