Catheter-related central venous thrombosis is a serious and common problem among children. The traditional management has been anticoagulation and early catheter removal. Unfortunately, many patients require a new catheter, which is associated with complications that include possible further thrombosis. Although others have used thrombolytic agents in attempts to avoid catheter removal, the authors of the present study believe that the associated complications occur too frequently and are too serious. They have had success with standard anticoagulation in a limited number of patients. Between February 1991 and April 1994, 17 patients (6 weeks to 19 years of age) were treated for catheter-related deep venous thrombosis. Eight patients underwent early catheter removal accompanied by anticoagulation; two of them had intrinsic catheter problems that necessitated removal, and one had hemophilia. Nine others received anticoagulation without catheter removal. Of these, one required catheter removal after 10 days heparin administration failed to diminish the thrombosis. Another patient responded well to anticoagulation but required catheter removal several weeks later because of catheter-site infection. The other seven patients responded well to anticoagulation, and their catheters were retained. For patients with a functional catheter essential to their care, anticoagulation may safely prevent catheter removal.