Infection is a potentially life-threatening complication of central venous catheterization. Although line-related bacteremias and sepsis are relatively uncommon, the frequent use of central lines in the intensive-care unit makes these infections a common consideration. Semiquantitative culture techniques for analysis of the catheter tip provide evidence for the diagnosis of catheter-related infections. Bacterial growth of more than 15 colony-forming units/plate is typically considered significant. Preventive measures include using sterile insertion techniques, providing meticulous care for the local site, and minimizing the duration of catheter use. The practice of changing lines over a guidewire is controversial. For treatment of most catheter-related infections, the catheter should be removed and antibiotics should be administered if associated systemic infection occurs.