Ultrasound-guided subclavian venous catheterisation - is this the way forward? A narrative review

A Shah, A Smith, S Panchatsharam
International Journal of Clinical Practice 2013, 67 (8): 726-32
Central venous catheterisation is a commonly performed procedure in anaesthesia, critical care, acute and emergency medicine. Traditionally, subclavian venous catheterisation has been performed using the landmark technique and because of the complications associated with this technique, it is not commonly performed in the United Kingdom - where the accepted practice is ultrasound-guided internal jugular vein catheterisation. Subclavian vein catheterisation offers particular advantages over the internal jugular and femoral vein sites such as reduced rates of line-related sepsis, improved patient comfort and swifter access in trauma situations where the internal jugular vein may not be easily accessible. There is a growing body of evidence to suggest a potential emerging role for ultrasound-guided subclavian vein catheterisation. Barriers to this approach include many physicians still believing that the clavicle obscures imaging of the vein. In this article, we review the evidence supporting ultrasound-guided subclavian vein catheterisation and ask the question whether, in view of it potential advantages, it could be the way forward?

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