Transfemoral repositioning of malpositioned central venous catheters

G G Hartnell, J Gates, J N Suojanen, M E Clouse
Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology 1996, 19 (5): 329-31

PURPOSE: To determine the efficacy of the transfemoral vein approach to repositioning malpositioned central venous catheters.

METHODS: During a 4(1/2)-year period, malpositioned central venous catheters were repositioned 91 times in 83 patients via the transfemoral vein approach. All repositioning was initially attempted with a Grollman catheter or other pigtail catheter and a tip-deflecting wire. If these techniques failed or the venous anatomy was unfavorable, gooseneck or long loop snares were used.

RESULTS: During 48 repositionings, rotating a pigtail-type catheter alone was used successfully in 39 (81%). In 6 of 9 failures, the addition of a tip-deflecting wire also failed. A Grollman catheter and tip-deflecting wire were used initially in 39 repositionings (6 failures; 85% success). Successful repositioning required a snare in 8 (4 as the primary repositioning technique) and a long-loop technique in 5. All repositionings were ultimately successful and there were no complications.

CONCLUSION: Central venous catheters can be repositioned consistently by the transfemoral route. Pigtail catheters or tip-deflecting wires alone are successful in over 80% of cases.

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