Central Venous Line (CVL) Removal: Caring for your child at home after the procedure

Your child has had a CVL removal. This brochure explains how to care for your child at home after the procedure, and when to call for help.

When to see a doctor 

Call your child's doctor or go to the nearest Emergency Department right away if your child has any of the following:

  • fever greater than 38ºC (100.4 F)
  • pain or discomfort needing Tylenol® after 48 hours
  • noticeable increase in bright red blood around the site of the old CVL
  • leakage or drainage at the site of the old CVL
  • difficulty breathing
  • neck swelling or bruising


Your child may shower or take a bath 24 hours after the CVL is removed. Remove all dressings after 48 hours. Once the dressings are removed, it is OK to get the CVL site wet.

Dressing Care

  • Leave all dressings on for 48 hours.
  • After 48 hours all dressings can be taken off if the site has scabbed underneath.
  • ​It is normal to see dry blood on the dressing. However, there should be no active bleeding at the site where the CVL was removed. If there is, contact the Vascular Access Nurse or the Referring Service.


If your child is feeling well enough after the anaesthetic, they can return to eating what they normally eat. It is also important to encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids for 48 hours after the procedure.

Pain relief

If needed, give your child acetaminophen (Tylenol®) for pain. Do not give your child any medicines that will thin the blood, such as ASA (Aspirin®) or ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin®), without checking with a nurse or your child's doctor first.


After the CVL removal, your child will need to be quiet, stay home from school or day care, and avoid physical activity for the first 24 hours. Your child may return to school 24 hours after the CVL removal with restricted activity. Your child should avoid swimming for 2 full weeks and all other major activities for 1 week. These include:

  • contact sports
  • gymnastics
  • bicycle riding
  • rollerblading
  • hockey
  • soccer
  • skiing
  • horseback riding

Key Points

  • Keep the CVL dressings as dry as possible for at least 24 hours.
  • Remove all dressing after 24 hours if a scab has formed underneath.
  • Give your child acetaminophen​ (Tylenol®) for pain.
  • No physical activities for one week.

Joao Amaral, MD​

Michelle Côté, RN

Candice Sockett, RN(EC), MN:APN


At SickKids:

If you have any concerns in the first 48 hours, call the IGT clinic during working hours at (416) 813-6054 and ask to speak to an IGT nurse. After 48 hours, please call your referring doctor. If you have concerns and it is after working hours, see your family doctor or go to the nearest Emergency Department or call the Hospital for Sick Children switchboard at (416) 813-1500 and ask them to page the interventional radiologist on call. ​