Glossary Entry: Midline Catheter


Definition: A midline catheter is a type of intravenous catheter that is inserted into a peripheral vein and advanced until the catheter tip is positioned at the level of the axilla or below, typically terminating in the upper arm. It is used for longer-term venous access and can remain in place for a duration ranging from 1-4 weeks.

Detailed Description

Types and Variations

Variations: Midline catheters may vary in length and can range from 3 to 12 inches, allowing for flexibility in their application depending on the patient’s needs. They may also have multiple lumens for various purposes, such as administering medications and drawing blood.


Common Uses: Midline catheters are commonly used in patients who require extended intravenous therapy, such as prolonged antibiotic treatment, chemotherapy, or long-term intravenous hydration.

Insertion and Placement

Procedure: The insertion and placement of a midline catheter require sterile technique and should be performed under ultrasound guidance. The Seldinger technique is often utilized to introduce the catheter into the vein, with its tip positioned in the upper arm to ensure long-term stability and minimize the risk of phlebitis.

Clinical Considerations

Potential Complications

Risks: Potential complications associated with midline catheters include thrombosis, infection, phlebitis, and catheter migration. Regular monitoring and assessment are essential to detect and address any complications promptly.

Care and Maintenance

Maintenance Requirements: Midline catheters should be flushed regularly with saline or heparin solution to maintain patency, and dressing changes and site care should be performed according to best practice guidelines to prevent infection.

Additional Information

Related Devices

Associated Terms: Other devices commonly used in conjunction with midline catheters include extension sets, syringes, and infusion pumps for the administration of medications and fluids.

Innovations and Advancements

Recent Developments: Recent advancements in midline catheter technology include antimicrobial-impregnated catheters and improved catheter materials to reduce the risk of infection and thrombosis.

Regulatory and Safety Notes

Regulations: Healthcare providers should adhere to relevant regulatory guidelines and manufacturer recommendations for the use of midline catheters to ensure patient safety and device efficacy.