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Removal of a Central Line, Picc, or Midline Catheter

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 6, 2022.

What do I need to know about removal of a central line, PICC, or midline catheter?

Your central line, PICC, or midline catheter may be removed if your treatment is complete or there is a complication. A healthcare provider will remove it.

How will the line or catheter be removed?

  • Stitches or devices securing the line or catheter will be removed.
  • Your healthcare provider may ask you to exhale forcefully while it is being removed. This will help prevent an air bubble from entering your blood vessel.
  • Pressure will be placed on the site for about 30 seconds. Then a bandage will be placed over the site. You will be asked to stay seated or to lie down for at least 30 minutes after removal. This allows healthcare providers to watch for problems.

What should I expect after removal?

Your healthcare providers will teach you how to clean and care for the line or catheter site. You will be taught how to prevent infections and other serious problems. You will need to watch for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, pus, or a fever.

What are the risks of a central line, PICC, or midline catheter removal?

An air bubble can travel to your brain, heart, or lungs. Rarely, it can cause a heart attack or stroke, or cause you to stop breathing.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

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