Recognizing, Preventing, and Troubleshooting Central-Line Complications

Ann Earhart, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, CRNI



To promote positive outcomes, clinicians caring for patients with central lines must monitor carefully for signs and symptoms of complications. This article discusses potential complications—catheter occlusion, bleeding and hematoma, catheter-tip migration, catheter rupture, phlebitis and associated pain, swelling and deep vein thrombosis (DVT), infection, and embolism. It also provides assessment, prevention, and troubleshooting tips for central lines.

Purpose/Goal: The purpose of this activity is to provide nurses with information on complications of central lines, including their causes, management, and prevention.


At the conclusion, participants should be able to:
1. Describe at least five complications with central lines, along with their causes.
2. Discuss management of central-line complications.
3. Explain how to troubleshoot central-line patency problems.


The planners and author of this CNE activity have disclosed no relevant financial relationships with commercial companies pertaining to this continuing nursing education activity.

Contact Hours: 1.6

Expiration Date: 10/31/2016

Pharmacology Hours: 0


Member Price: $15.00
Non-Member Price: $20.00

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