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Peripherally Inserted Central Catheters and Midline Catheters Child


  • A catheter is a small tube used to give treatments and to take blood. The catheter is guided into place through a peripheral vein in your child's upper arm. Peripheral veins lead from your child's arms and legs to his heart. A peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) is guided into a vein near the heart. A midline catheter is guided into a vein below the armpit.


Before your child's procedure:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.
  • Medicines: Your child may need one or more of the following:
    • Sedative: This medicine may be given to help your child to be calm and relaxed.
    • General anesthesia will keep your child asleep and free from pain during surgery. Anesthesia may be given through your child's IV. He may instead breathe it in through a mask or a tube placed down his throat. The tube may cause your child to have a sore throat when he wakes up.
    • Local anesthesia: Medicine may be put on your child's skin. This medicine will numb the area where the catheter will be inserted.

During your child's procedure:

  • A band may be tightened around your child's arm. This helps healthcare providers see his veins. The band also stops blood from flowing into the vein while healthcare providers place the catheter. Your child's healthcare provider may give him local anesthetic (numbing medicine) in the area where his catheter will be placed.
  • Your child's healthcare provider will put a needle through your child's skin and into his vein. If your child needs a PICC, it will be threaded until it ends in the larger vein near his heart. If your child needs a midline catheter, it will be inserted and threaded to a vein in his armpit. Have your older child tell his healthcare provider if he feels pain or tingling while the catheter is being placed. Tell your younger child's healthcare provider if it looks like your child is in pain.
  • The needle and sheath (covering) will be removed, and the catheter will be left in the vein. Healthcare providers may secure the catheter to your skin with tape or stitches. A new bandage will be placed over the area to keep it clean and to help prevent infection.

After your child's procedure:

If your child has a PICC, a chest x-ray will be done to show healthcare providers the location of the catheter tip


  • One or more attempts may be needed to place the catheter. The vein where your child's catheter is placed may become irritated, and his skin may get red, painful, and blister. When the catheter is put in, your child's vein may tear, or the catheter may injure a nerve. Your child's catheter may get blocked, and healthcare providers may need to remove or replace it.
  • The catheter may break, bend, or move out of place. The IV medicine may leak outside your child's vein and cause pain, swelling, or blisters. Your child can have bleeding, an allergy to heparin, or heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT). HIT is a low number of blood platelets, which increases the risk of bleeding. Your child may get a blood clot in his arm. This can cause pain and swelling, and can stop blood from flowing where it needs to go in your child's body. The blood clot may break loose and travel to your child's lungs or brain. A blood clot in your child's lungs can cause chest pain and trouble breathing. A blood clot in your child's brain can cause a stroke. These problems can be life-threatening.
  • If your child does not have a catheter placed, he may need to get multiple needle sticks. It may be hard for healthcare providers to give your child the treatment that he needs. Your child's condition may get worse, or he may die. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you are worried or have questions about having a catheter placed.


You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.