A central line is a special intravenous line (IV). This type of IV is inserted into the subclavian vein just under the collarbone in the upper chest, or through one of the larger veins in the arm, and threaded into one of the large veins that lie close to the heart. A central line has multiple ports that can be used to: draw bloodgive fluidsmonitor central venous blood pressure
A central line is used for: gaining emergency IV access when the usual IV access into an arm vein is not possiblemonitoring central venous pressure during major surgery or after severe blood loss from trauma or illnessgiving fluids, blood products, chemotherapy, and other medicines, as well as for hyperalimentation (nutrition by vein)drawing blood samplesadministering long-term IV therapy
A central line is inserted under sterile conditions. The person is usually placed in the Trendelenburg position, which means the head is below the level of the heart. The skin is cleansed, and a local anesthetic is injected to make the area numb. A healthcare professional advances the line until it reaches the large vein of the chest. The catheter is then sutured in place, and a sterile dressing is applied.
Illustrated Manual of Nursing Practice, 2nd Ed., 1994
Textbook of Critical Care Nursing: Diagnosis and Management, Thelan, 1990