Ultrasound versus the landmark technique: a prospective randomized comparative study of internal jugular vein cannulation in an intensive care unit

B R Shrestha, B Gautam
JNMA; Journal of the Nepal Medical Association 2011, 51 (182): 56-61

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to find out if an ultrasound technique has advantages over the conventional landmark technique.

METHODS: This is a prospective randomized comparative study on 120 patients requiring central venous cannulation of the right internal jugular vein. The study comprised of two groups: ultrasound and landmark groups, each consisting of 60 patients. The outcome measures were compared between the groups.

RESULTS: Cannulation of the internal jugular vein was successful in 58 patients in the ultrasound group and in 53 in the landmark group. The number of attempts was 1.5 (1 - 3) and 2 (1 - 3) in the ultrasound and landmark group respectively (p = 0.001). The time taken for the successful cannulation was 4.9 +/- 1.7 minutes in the ultrasound approach and 8.0 +/- 2.8 minutes in the landmark approach (p = 0.00). The internal jugular vein diameter in the supine position was 11.2 +/- 1.5 mm which increased to 15.04 +/- 1.5 mm with a 15 degrees head-down position in the USG group (p = 0.001). The first attempt success rate was 39/60 (63%) in the ultrasound group and 19/60 (32%) with the landmark technique. The seven (12%) failure cases in the landmark group were rescued by the ultrasound technique. Inadvertent carotid artery puncture occurred in 2/60 (3%) and 6/60 (10%) of patients in the ultrasound and land mark group respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: Ultrasound improves success rate, minimizes cannulation time and complications during internal jugular vein cannulation. It can be employed as a rescue technique in cases of a failed landmark technique.

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