Insertion of Umbilical Catheter

Insertion of an umbilical catheter is the placement of a tube into the arteries or vein of the umbilical stump. During pregnancy the umbilical cord is an important part of your baby’s blood flow system. Once your child is born the cord is no longer needed but the blood vessels remain for a few weeks.

  • Call Your Doctor

    Call your child’s doctor if any of these occur:

    • Signs of infection—fever and chills, redness or swelling at the umbilical area
    • Pain in the umbilical area
    • Pus around the stump

    If you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

  • Definition

    Insertion of an umbilical catheter is the placement of a tube into the arteries or vein of the umbilical stump.

    During pregnancy the umbilical cord is an important part of your baby’s blood flow system. Once your child is born the cord is no longer needed but the blood vessels remain for a few weeks.

    Umbilical Cord
    IMAGE
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • What to Expect

  • Reasons for Procedure

    The umbilical stump may be used to deliver treatment or take blood samples in newborns. In newborns, the umbilical cord may be a much easier access point than blood vessels in other parts of the body. This is particularly true for premature babies. The umbilical cord is also painless which can make it easier for the baby.

    A catheter may be used to:

    • Remove blood for testing
    • Monitor blood pressure
    • Deliver nutrients or medicine
    • Deliver or exchange blood

    Regular access to the blood with a catheter will cut down on the number of needle sticks your baby will have. It is also available to treat emergency situations.

  • Possible Complications

    All procedures have some risk. The doctor will review potential problems, such as:

    • Excess bleeding
    • Infection in the blood
    • Blood clots
    • Blockage of blood flow to internal organs or legs
    • Problems in the intestine such as necrotizing enterocolitis—if blood flow to intestines is blocked
    • Misplacement of catheter
    • Stroke
    • Pulmonary embolism—blood clot in lung

    Talk to your child’s doctor about these risks before the procedure.