Munson Health
Insertion of Umbilical Catheter

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by Jones P

(Umbilical Line Insertion)


What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

Certain measurements will be taken. This will help to determine how far the catheter is passed into the blood vessels. Your child may also be placed on monitors to measure breathing and heart activity.


Anesthesia may not be needed. The umbilical stump does not have pain nerves. Your child will not feel the work on the umbilical stump.

Description of the Procedure

Your baby’s stomach and umbilical cord will be cleaned with an antiseptic. The top portion of the stump will have a clamp that was placed right after birth. A cloth will be tied below the clamp, closer to the stomach. The umbilical stump will then be removed just above the tie. The catheter will be inserted into the artery or vein of the stump. A gentle pressure will be used to pass the catheter into the desired locations.
An x-ray will be done to make sure the catheter is in the right place. The x-ray will also show if there are any immediate complications. Once the placement is confirmed, the catheter will be secured in place with sutures. The umbilical stump may also be taped to the belly make it more secure.

Immediately After Procedure

Your baby will be monitored for the development of any complications. This includes watching the legs for any change in color and monitoring breathing and heart rate.

How Long Will It Take?

The procedure may take 15-30 minutes

How Much Will It Hurt?

Your baby cannot feel pain through the umbilical cord. However, your baby will be monitored for any distress. Medication will be given to ease discomfort.

Average Hospital Stay

The length of time that the catheter remains in will depend on your child’s condition. The hospital stay will also be determined by your child’s overall health.

Post-procedure Care

At the Hospital
Your child’s care staff will take steps to prevent infection in the catheter. Steps should include:
  • Washing hands and wearing gloves before touching the catheter.
  • Cleaning the catheter area with an anesthetic.
  • Keeping an eye out for signs of infection.
  • Removing catheter as soon as possible.
Treatment will be delivered through the catheter as needed.
At Home
The catheter will likely be removed before your child goes home. There are no special steps that need to be taken once the catheter is removed.


Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians

Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics



About Kids Health

The College of Family Physicians of Canada



Insertion of umbilical vessel catheters. University of Iowa Children’s Hospital website. Available at: Accessed August 12, 2014.

Intensive care nursery glossary. University of California San Francisco Benioff Children's Hospital website. Available at: Accessed August 12, 2014.

Neonatal vascular access. PEMSoft at EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed August 12, 2014.


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