What is a central line or central venous catheter?

Central lines, also called central venous catheters, are tubes placed into a patient's large vein, often in the neck, chest, arm or groin. They are called "central" because they end near the patient's heart. The catheters may be used to take blood samples or to give medications and fluids. Central lines may be left in place for several weeks, and are often needed for today's complex patient care.

What is a central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI)?

A CLABSI can occur when germs multiply on the central line material and enter the bloodstream. A CLABSI can cause fevers and chills, or the skin around the catheter may become red and tender. A CLABSI can be dangerous to patients, which is why UCSF provides specialized care for patients with central lines.