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Your central line catheter will not interfere with your daily activities if proper care is taken.

On occasion, a problem may occur. A list of some of these problems, the causes, and what you should do about them is provided below. Your nurse may provide additional instructions.

Problem #1

Irritation of Vein (Phlebitis)

  • Redness at IV site
  • Pain/feeling of warmth at the IV site

Possible Cause

  • Irritating medications
  • Irritation from the IV
  • Bacteria/infection

What To Do

  • Call your nurse. She/he may give you telephone instructions or make arrangements to see you.

Problem #2


Possible Cause

  • Loose injection cap
  • Damaged IV Line

What To Do

  • Stop the infusion
  • Check injection cap and tighten if necessary
  • If the problem persists, call your nurse.

Problem #3

Resistance To Catheter Flushing. Medication Will Not Run Or Runs Slowly.

Possible Cause

  • Roller clamp on tubing is not adjusted correctly
  • Bag is spiked incorrectly
  • Tubing is kinked

What To Do

  • Check solution bag and spike connection.
  • Check height of bag, (if gravity infusion).
  • Check to be sure tubing is not clamped or kinked.
  • Try changing the position of your arm.
  • Stop the infusion and flush your catheter with saline (or sterile water if instructed) and attempt to restart the infusion.
  • If the problem persists, call your nurse.

Problem #4

IV Falls Out

Possible Cause

  • Dressing not securing IV catheter correctly.

What To Do

  • Apply gauze to site.
  • Apply pressure.
  • Tape gauze in place.
  • Call your nurse to arrange for a new catheter.
iv infusion tubing

Important Tips

Always keep pets and animals out of the room while connecting the infusions to your IV. Always cover IV with plastic wrap when bathing – Sponge bathing is recommended.

The Nurse Will Change Dressing Weekly. Keep Dressing Clean And Dry.

Proper care of central line:

  • Flush the line as instructed.
  • Avoid using scissors or sharp objects near catheter.
  • Keep site dry.
  • Check site for redness, swelling, warmth or tenderness.

Have questions? Call Toll-Free 1-800-665-2850

Download our “Troubleshooting – Central Line” PDF Resource