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An umbilical line is a catheter that is inserted into one of the two arteries or the vein of the umbilical cord. Generally the UAC/UVC (Umbilical Artery Catheter/Umbilical Vein Catheter) is used in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) as it provides quick access to the central circulation of premature infants. UAC/UVC lines can be placed at the time of birth and allow medical staff to quickly infuse fluids, inotropic drugs, and blood if required. It is sometimes used in term or near-term newborns in whom the umbilical cord stump is still connected to the circulatory system. Medications, fluids, and blood can be given through this catheter and it allows monitoring of blood gasses and withdrawing of blood samples. Complications include infection and thromboembolism.
Transumbilical catheter intervention is also a method of gaining access to the heart, for example to surgically correct a patent ductus arteriosus.