Use of femoral venous catheters in critically ill adults: prospective study

J F Williams, M G Seneff, B C Friedman, B J McGrath, R Gregg, J Sunner, J E Zimmerman
Critical Care Medicine 1991, 19 (4): 550-3

OBJECTIVE: To determine the frequency of clinically important complications of femoral venous catheters.

DESIGN: Prospective survey of major and minor complications.

SETTING: A mixed medical/surgical ICU in a university hospital.

PATIENTS: One hundred twenty-three patients admitted to the ICU who underwent femoral venous catheterization over a 2-yr period.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: There were 150 catheters inserted in 123 patients for a mean duration of 6.4 days. There were no major complications including catheter-related sepsis. Minor complications consisted of arterial puncture (9.3%), local bleeding (10%), and local inflammation (4.7%). Critical care fellows had a significantly lower rate (6%) of insertion complications than interns or medical students (16%). We did not specifically look at the frequency of deep venous thrombosis.

CONCLUSIONS: Femoral venous catheterization offers an alternative site of insertion to the subclavian and jugular veins for central venous access in the critically ill. The occurrence rate of clinically important complications is acceptably low.

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