Central vein catheterization of dialysis patients with real time ultrasound guidance

M Gallieni
Journal of Vascular Access 2000, 1 (1): 10-4
Internal jugular vein cannulation has become a routinary and clinically important aspect of medical care in critically ill patients. The landmark-guided technique usually affords rapid and easy vascular access, but it is not always successful and may be complicated by arterial puncture, hematoma, pneumothorax. A prospective, descriptive study is reported on the use and success of ultrasound-assisted central vein catheterization in dialysis patients who had an indication for internal jugular vein catheterization. Data were collected prospectively on number of punctures, needle passes, and success rates. Over a 6-year period, there were 220 attempts at internal jugular catheterization in 205 patients and ultrasound guidance was used in 210 of the 220 (95%) attempts. Incidences of successful puncture and cannulation using ultrasound were 100% (210 out of 210) and 99.5% (209 out of 210), respectively, compared with 80% (8 out of 10) and 80% (8 out of 10) in the landmark group. With the availability of the ultrasound device complication rates also improved markedly, suggesting that the ultrasound technique is an easily learned technique that rapidly produces an improvement over the external landmark method. First attempt success improved from 20% to 85%, carotid punctures decreased from 33% to 2.9% (6 out of 210). The patient population also included 32 patients with several high risk conditions, such as no visual or palpable landmarks, severe coagulopathies due to hepatic failure or ex-cess of anticoagulation treatment. In these patients, cannulation was successful in 100% (32 out of 32) using ultrasound guidance. In 9 patients (9/195, 4.6%), preliminary ultrasound evaluation of the neck vessels failed to identify a right internal jugular vein suitable for cannulation, because of thrombosis or a small diameter of the vein. In all cases, the left internal jugular vein could be cannulated without difficulties. Our results confirm that ultrasound-guided cannulation of the internal jugular vein offers several advantages over the external landmarks technique: higher success rate in both vein puncture and catheter placement, lower complications, lower patient discomfort during the procedure because of a low number of needle passes. Ultrasound-assisted cannulation of the internal jugular vein may become the standard approach to dialysis catheter placement in the future.

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