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Belani Kumar G. MB BS; Buckley, Joseph J. MD; Gordon, John R. MD; Castaneda, Wifrido MD
Anesthesia & Analgesia: January 1980

To compare the rate of success and incidence of complications associated with two currently popular routes of percutaneous central venous cannulation, we studied 167 patients in whom either internal or external jugular vein catheterization was attempted. Internal jugular vein (IJV) catheterization (125 patients) was successful in 91 %; an intrathoracic location was achieved in 100%; complications occurred in 12.8%. Complications included one case of catheter malposition, one case of tension pneumothorax, and 12 instances of inadvertent carotid artery puncture, one resulting in a paratracheal hematoma and phrenic nerve compression. The success rate of IJV cannulation was higher and carotid artery puncture less frequent when an 18-gauge thin-walled needle and a straight guide-wire were used than when IJV cannulation was performed by blind puncture with a larger over-the-needle catheter. Delayed vein perforation occurred twice. External jugular vein cannulation (42 patients), using a “J” wire technique, yielded a 76% success rate: 93.7% of catheter tips reached an intrathoracic location. No complications occurred. We conclude that IJV cannulation is a more reliable means of percutaneous central venous line placement but is associated with a significant incidence of complications which can be reduced if a technique employing a scout needle and guide-wire is used.

Reprint requests to Dr. Belani.

© 1980 International Anesthesia Research Society