Safe and reliable venous access is mandatory in modern health care, but central venous catheters (CVCs) are associated with significant morbidity and mortality, This paper describes current Swedish guidelines for clinical management of CVCs The guidelines supply updated recommendations that may be useful in other countries as well. Literature retrieval in the Cochrane and Pubmed databases, of papers written in English or Swedish and pertaining to CVC management, was done by members of a task force of the Swedish Society of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine. Consensus meetings were held throughout the review process to allow all parts of the guidelines to be embraced by all contributors. All of the content was carefully scored according to criteria by the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine. We aimed at producing useful and reliable guidelines on bleeding diathesis, vascular approach, ultrasonic guidance, catheter tip positioning, prevention and management of associated trauma and infection, and specific training and follow-up. A structured patient history focused on bleeding should be taken prior to insertion of a CVCs. The right internal jugular vein should primarily be chosen for insertion of a wide-bore CVC. Catheter tip positioning in the right atrium or lower third of the superior caval vein should be verified for long-term use. Ultrasonic guidance should be used for catheterisation by the internal jugular or femoral veins and may also be used for insertion via the subclavian veins or the veins of the upper limb. The operator inserting a CVC should wear cap, mask, and sterile gown and gloves. For long-term intravenous access, tunnelled CVC or subcutaneous venous ports are preferred. Intravenous position of the catheter tip should be verified by clinical or radiological methods after insertion and before each use. Simulator-assisted training of CVC insertion should precede bedside training in patients. Units inserting and managing CVC should have quality assertion programmes for implementation and follow-up of routines, teaching, training and clinical outcome. Clinical guidelines on a wide range of relevant topics have been introduced, based on extensive literature retrieval, to facilitate effective and safe management of CVCs.