Pre-procedure ultrasound increases the success and safety of central venous catheterization†

W Schummer, J A Köditz, C Schelenz, K Reinhart, S G Sakka
British Journal of Anaesthesia 2014, 113 (1): 122-9

BACKGROUND: Real-time ultrasound (US) in central venous catheterization is superior to pre-procedure US. However, moving real-time US into routine practice is impeded by its perceived expense and difficulty. Currently, pre-procedure US and landmark (LM) methods are most widely used. We investigated these techniques in internal jugular vein (IJV) catheterization in respect of operator experience, complications, and risk factors.

METHODS: In an observational non-randomized study, we investigated 606 of ∼1300 procedures, that is, 200 patients were treated under pre-procedure US and 406 under LM [pathfinder (PF) n=202, direct cannulation (DC) n=204]. We recorded first needle pass success rate, success rate after the third attempt, and the cannulation time. Procedures were performed by inexperienced (<100) or experienced (>100 catheterizations) operators.

RESULTS: Pre-procedure US was associated with more successful attempts and shorter cannulation times. Under pre-procedure US, 88% of first attempts were successful and 100% of third attempts. The median (range) cannulation time was 39 (10-330) s. Under PF, only 56% of first, and 87% of third, attempts were successful with a median (range) cannulation time of 100 (25-3600) s. Under DC, 61% of first and 89% of third attempts were successful; the median (range) cannulation time was 70 (10-3600) s. Remarkably, inexperienced operators using pre-procedure US (n=38) were significantly faster than experienced operators using PF or DC (n=343) (cannulation time: median 60 s, range 12-330, for inexperienced; 60 s, range 10-3600, for experienced). First puncture success rates were higher (pre-procedure US, inexperienced 84%, PF or DC, experienced 57%).

CONCLUSIONS: Pre-procedure US for IJV catheterization is safe, quick, and superior to LM.

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