Saint Mary’s Hospital
NEONATAL MEDICAL UNIT
Tel: 0161 276 6206 / 6342
An information leaflet
Neonatal Medical Unit for parents
Saint Mary's Hospital
M13 0JH Long Lines
0161 276 6537/8
Long lines are monitored very carefully and if
Background How is a long line inserted? any of these complications arise the line will
This leaflet has been produced in order to A suitable vein is identified by the doctor who
help you to understand why your baby inserts the long line.
requires a ‘long line’. How will my baby be monitored while the
The doctor will wear a surgical gown and long line is in place?
A ‘long line’ is a thin catheter inserted into gloves to ensure that the line remains sterile.
one of the large veins in your baby’s arm or Your baby will continue to have heart rate and
leg. The line is inserted into a vein in the arm or respiratory (breathing) rate monitoring. The
the leg. (On rare occasions, a vein in the line is also attached to a monitor that alarms if
scalp is used). the line becomes blocked.
Why does my baby need a long line?
The tip of the line is placed in a suitable
There may be several reasons why your baby position. How do you know when to take the long
requires a long line: line out?
Once the line is in place, an x-ray is taken to
• Small premature babies have an ensure that it is in the correct position. When your baby no longer requires
immature digestive system. intravenous fluids, the long line will be
It may take more than one attempt to insert removed.
• It can take days before your baby can the long line, as the veins of premature
take all the milk feeds required. babies are very small.
Will I need to give consent?
• Using a long line means that your baby Sometimes we are not able to insert the long
continues to receive the calories they line. If this happens the surgeons will place a Yes. You will be asked to sign a consent
need for growth even though they may line into one of the larger internal veins. form before the line is inserted.
not be feeding.
• A long line is inserted so that medication Are there any complications associated Who do I ask for more information?
can be given as well as fluids. with long lines?
Please ask to speak to one of the nurses or
Fluids can be given via a ‘cannula’ which is Yes. Long lines may become blocked or they doctors if you have any further questions.
the small drip inserted into a vein. However, may leak. They may also become infected.
cannulas do not last very long as they Sometimes there can be bleeding from the
frequently leak into the surrounding tissue site where the line is inserted. (This can
and this is why a long line is preferred. usually be stopped by applying gentle
pressure.) Very rarely they can cause fluid to
accumulate around the heart.