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Surgical Retrieval of a Transected Umbilical Artery Catheter

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UMBILICAL ARTERY catheters (UACs) are commonly used in neonates and particularly in premature babies. They are crucial in enabling accurate blood pressure monitoring, blood gas analysis, and blood sampling. There is a relatively low rate of major complications with these catheters; however, complications may result from fracture or transection of the catheter.1,2 Complications of retained UACs include hemorrhage and thromboembolic events. Long-term sequelae have also been described, including limb abnormalities as a result of ischemia and recurrent umbilical infection following unrecognized retained UACs.2,3 We report a case of accidental transection of a UAC and subsequent migration of the catheter into the arterial circulation. This resulted in the premature baby requiring a laparotomy to retrieve the catheter. We describe the events leading to the transection, present its operative management, and offer suggestions for preventing this complication.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2007

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