Glossary Entry: Umbilical Catheter


Definition: An umbilical catheter is a medical device inserted into the umbilical vein or artery of a newborn infant. It serves as a means of administering medications, fluids, and nutrients, as well as monitoring blood pressure and obtaining blood samples in neonatal intensive care settings.

Detailed Description

Types and Variations

Variations: Umbilical catheters come in different sizes and may be single or double lumen. They are available in various lengths to accommodate different gestational ages and sizes of newborns.


Common Uses: Umbilical catheters are commonly used in preterm infants or critically ill newborns who require close monitoring and frequent access to the circulatory system.

Insertion and Placement

Procedure: The umbilical catheter is inserted through the umbilical vein or artery with attention to correct placement using imaging guidance. The Seldinger technique may be utilized for insertion, ensuring proper positioning and minimizing the risk of complications.

Clinical Considerations

Potential Complications

Risks: Complications associated with umbilical catheter use include infection, thrombosis, vessel perforation, or displacement of the catheter.

Care and Maintenance

Maintenance Requirements: It is essential to maintain strict aseptic technique during insertion and care of the umbilical catheter. Regular monitoring and assessment of the insertion site are necessary to detect any signs of complications.

Additional Information

Related Devices

Associated Terms: Umbilical catheters are often used in conjunction with umbilical artery catheters, and also require accessories such as catheter stabilization devices and infusion tubing.

Innovations and Advancements

Recent Developments: Recent advancements in umbilical catheter technology focus on the development of catheters with reduced infection risk and improved long-term patency.

Regulatory and Safety Notes

Regulations: Regulatory considerations include strict adherence to guidelines for the insertion and maintenance of umbilical catheters to prevent complications and ensure patient safety.