A randomized study of left versus right internal jugular vein cannulation in adults

C A Sulek, M L Blas, E B Lobato
Journal of Clinical Anesthesia 2000, 12 (2): 142-5

STUDY OBJECTIVE: To compare the success rate and incidence of complications of right internal jugular vein (RIJV) versus left internal jugular vein (LIJV) cannulation using external landmarks or surface ultrasound guidance.

DESIGN: Prospective randomized study.

SETTING: Operating room of a university-affiliated hospital.

PATIENTS: 120 adult patients scheduled for elective abdominal, vascular, or cardiothoracic procedures with general anesthesia and mechanical ventilation in whom central venous cannulation was clinically indicated.

INTERVENTIONS: Patients were randomized to four groups for RIJV cannulation using the landmark approach (Group 1) or surface ultrasound (Group 2) versus LIJV cannulation with the landmark approach (Group 3) or ultrasound (Group 4).

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: The data collected included time from first puncture to guidewire insertion, number of attempts, and associated complications. If conversion to the ultrasound technique was required, the number of crossover patients and reasons for failure were recorded. Cannulation of the LIJV was more time consuming; it required more attempts; and it was associated with a greater number of complications when compared to the right side (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Left IJV cannulation is more time consuming than RIJV cannulation and is associated with a higher incidence of complications. The use of ultrasound improves success rate and decreases the number of complications during IJV cannulation.

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