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Umbilical Venous Catheter in Newborns

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

What do I need to know about an umbilical venous catheter (UVC)?

A UVC is a small flexible tube that is put into the umbilical cord stump vein. The umbilical cord stump has 1 vein and 2 arteries.

Why does my baby need a UVC?

What will happen during a UVC procedure?

Your baby will be placed on his or her back. Your baby's arms and legs may be secured so that he or she does not move during the procedure. Your baby's surgeon will place the catheter in the vein. An x-ray may be taken to check that the catheter is placed correctly. The surgeon may attach the catheter to the umbilical stump with stitches. The catheter will be taped to your baby's belly so it cannot be pulled out.

What will happen after the UVC procedure?

You may not be able to hold your baby while the UVC is in. Comfort your baby by gently placing your hands on his or her arms or legs. Speak softly to your baby. Ask about the best ways to support your baby.

How is the UVC removed?

Your baby's healthcare provider will pull the catheter out. The provider will put a bandage over the umbilical stump and gently squeeze your baby's belly. This is to make sure the vein closes and does not bleed. Your baby's UVC may be removed for the following reasons:

What are the risks of a UVC?

Your baby may get an infection. The catheter may damage the vein and cause internal bleeding. Organs, such as your baby's kidneys or intestines, may be damaged. The catheter may cause spasms in your baby's blood vessels. Your baby may have trouble breathing or get a blood clot in his or her limb. This may become life-threatening.

Care Agreement

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