Midline venous catheters – infants

By | January 11, 2019

WHY IS A MIDLINE VENOUS CATHETER USED?

A midline venous catheter is used when an infant needs IV fluids or medicine over a long period of time. Regular IVs only last for 1 to 3 days and need to be replaced often. Midline catheters can stay in for 2 to 4 weeks.

Midline catheters are now often used in place of:

Because midline catheters do not reach beyond the armpit, they are considered safer. However, there may be some IV medicines that cannot be delivered through a midline catheter. Also, routine blood draws are not advised from a midline catheter, whereas they can be used from the other types of venous catheters. It is possible to draw from a midline catheter if very gentle pressure is applied and a specific technique is used.

HOW IS A MIDLINE CATHETER PLACED?

A midline catheter is inserted in the veins of the arm, leg, and occasionally, scalp of the infant.

The health care provider will:

  • Place the infant on the examination table
  • Trained staff will help keep the infant calm
  • Numb the area where the catheter will be placed
  • Clean the infant’s skin with a germ-killing medicine (antiseptic)
  • Make a small surgical cut and place a hollow needle into a small vein in the arm, leg, or scalp
  • Place the midline catheter through the needle into a larger vein and remove the needle
  • Bandage the area where catheter has been placed

WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF HAVING A MIDLINE CATHETER PLACED?

Risks of midline venous catherization:

  • There is a small risk for infection. The longer the midline catheter is in place, the greater the risk.
  • Bleeding and bruising at the site of insertion.
  • Inflammation of the vein (phlebitis).
  • The catheter may get displaced and come out of the vein if the infant moves a lot.
  • Fluid from the catheter may leak into the tissues leading to swelling and redness.
  • Very rarely, the catheter may break inside the vein.

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