Percutaneous infraclavicular subclavian vein catheterization in critically ill infants and children

S T Venkataraman, R A Orr, A E Thompson
Journal of Pediatrics 1988, 113 (3): 480-5
The safety and risks of percutaneous infraclavicular subclavian vein catheterization, when performed by nonsurgical staff, were studied prospectively in 100 consecutive patients. The overall success rate was 92% (with one attempt, 45%; with two attempts, 85%). The procedure was performed under emergency conditions in 35% of the patients, with a success rate of 88.6%. The success rate was significantly lower in younger patients. Hemodynamic status, respiratory status, and level of expertise of the individual performing catheterization did not affect success rate. Most of the failures (six of eight) were related to presumed thrombosis from prior cannulation of the superior vena cava. Mean duration of catheterization was 7.5 +/- 5.8 days (+/- SD). Minor complications (n = 24) included hematomas, minor bleeding from subclavian artery puncture, and transient premature ventricular ectopic beats. Major complications (n = 6) were pneumothoraces (n = 4) and catheter-related infection (n = 2). The number of attempts made to catheterize the vessel and the level of expertise of the operator had the greatest effect on complication rates. No mortality was associated with this procedure. We have found percutaneous infraclavicular subclavian vein catheterization to be a rapid alternative to surgical cutdown for venous access during cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Pediatric residents can be trained, under direct supervision, to perform this procedure with a high success rate and a low complication rate.

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