Navigate Up

Full Library - A-Z Index


Print This Page

Central venous line - infants

Alternative Names

CVL - infants; Central catheter - infants - surgically placed

Information

A cental venous line (CVL) is a long, soft plastic tube, called a catheter, which is placed into a large vein in the chest.

WHY IS A CVL USED?

The main reason for a CVL is to deliver nutrients to a baby for a long period of time. It is most often used when attempts to place a percutaneous inserted central catheter (PICC ) have failed.

Infants with certain intestinal problems who need to get nutrition through their veins, and those who must receive IV medicines for a long time are most likely to need a CVL.

HOW IS A CVL PLACED?

CVL placement is done in the hospital. The baby will receive pain medicine. The skin is cleaned with a germ-killing solution (antiseptic).

The health care provider will make a small surgical cut in the skin away from the vein to be entered. A small metal probe is used to create a narrow tunnel under the skin. The catheter goes through this tunnel, into a vein, and the tip is moved close to the heart. An x-ray is used to place the CVL.

WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF A CVL?

There is a small risk of infection. The longer the CVL is in place the greater the risk for infection. Blood clots can form in the large veins leading to the heart. If an infection or blood clots form, the CVL may need to be removed and other therapies given. 

Though the catheters are very soft and flexible, at times they can cause the blood vessel wall to wear away. This causes IV fluid or medicine to leak into other body areas. In very rare instances, this can cause serious bleeding, breathing problems, and poor heart function.

Talk to your doctor about the risks of a CVL.

Updated: 11/14/2011

Kimberly G Lee, MD, MSc, IBCLC, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.


©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com