Midline Catheter

A midline catheter is a type of intravenous (IV) access and is a thin, flexible tube that is inserted into a vein in the upper arm or at the bend in the elbow. The tip of the midline catheter ends at or near the armpit (axillary) area. It is inserted using sterile technique by a specially trained nurse.


A midline catheter is used to give IV fluids, blood products, and medications. Advantages of a midline catheter are:

  • A midline catheter can be used if a patient needs IV access for more than 5 days.

  • A midline catheter can stay in place for up to 14 days.

  • You do not need to be stuck multiple times for IV restarts.


  • A clot can form in the midline catheter or at the catheter tip.

  • Inflammation (phlebitis) of the vein. The vein becomes warm, swollen, and tender. A red streak along the vein may develop where the midline catheter is.

  • Leakage (infiltration) of IV fluids or medication into the surrounding tissue of the vein. This can cause swelling, pain, and tissue injury in the arm with the midline catheter.

  • Infection. Symptoms include redness, swelling, fever, or drainage from the midline insertion site.

  • Nerve or tendon injury or irritation during midline catheter insertion.


  • Do not get the midline catheter dressing wet. Your caregiver can wrap the midline catheter if you want to take a shower.

  • Do not pull on the midline catheter or tubing. This can dislodge the midline catheter from the vein. If the midline catheter is dislodged, the IV fluids or medication you are getting can leak into the surrounding tissue.

  • Do not allow your blood pressure to be taken in the arm with the midline catheter.

  • Avoid crutch use in the same arm as the midline catheter. You may need to use a walker.

  • Blood draws from the midline catheter should be avoided.


  • There is drainage, redness, swelling, discomfort, or warmth in the arm with the midline catheter.

  • The tape or dressing is loose on the midline catheter.

  • The midline catheter is pulled partially or completely out.