Most of the time, central lines do not cause any problems. If problems do happen, it is usually because the line gets infected or stops working. Very rarely, a central line can cause a blood clot. Doctors review the risks with families before placing the central line.
How Can Parents Help?
If your child has a central line, you can help care for it to prevent infection and keep it working well. It's normal to feel a little bit nervous caring for the central line at first, but soon you'll feel more comfortable. You'll get supplies to use at home, and a visiting nurse may come to help you when you first get home.
Before your child goes home from having the central line placed, ask your health care team:
how often to change the dressing
when and how to flush the line
what to do if the line gets blocked or comes out
how to give medicines through the central line (if you will be giving medicines at home)
if the line has caps, how often to change them
which physical activities are OK for your child (most kids need to avoid rough play and contact sports)
if any special care is needed to protect the central line while your child bathes
what signs of infection to watch for
Tell your child's teachers, school nurse, counselor, and physical education teacher about the central line. They can make sure your child avoids any activities that may damage the line, and help support your child during treatment.