Complications from central lines for brain tumours

PDF download is not available for Arabic and Urdu languages at this time. Please use the browser print function instead

An in-depth discussion of the possible complications from central line treatments for children with brain tumours.

Key points

  • Bacterial infection is a common complication of central lines.
  • Bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics.

Central lines are thin tubes inserted into a large vein leading to the heart. Central lines can be used to provide chemotherapy drugs, antibiotics, other medicines, fluids, and nutrition to your child intravenously. They can also be used to remove blood for tests.

Infections of central lines

One common complication of central lines is bacterial infection. The main symptoms of bacterial infection are fever, with or without chills, and swelling of the skin in the area where the central line enters the vein. Bacterial infection can be diagnosed with a blood test, although sometimes it is difficult to say for sure that the infection is due to the central line.

Central line bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics. The choice of antibiotics is determined by how ill the child is, and what the bacteria is thought to be. Antibiotics are usually started intravenously until the child has stabilized. Then a switch may be made to an oral agent. Your child's doctor will determine how long they need to receive antibiotics for, depending on how serious the infection is. In some rare situations, and with certain types of bacteria, the central line may need to be removed. Once the infection is cured, the central line can be reinserted.

Last updated: July 10th 2009