A comparison of internal jugular vein cannulation by ultrasound-guided and anatomical landmark technique in resource-limited emergency department setting

Meenhas Kunhahamed, Siju Abraham, Babu Palatty, S. Krishnan, Punchalil Rajeev, Vivek Gopinathan

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Background and Objectives: Central venous catheter placement is a frequently performed procedure in emergency medicine as well as critical care unit. We aimed to compare real-time ultrasonography (USG)-guided and the traditional anatomical landmark (AL) technique for the insertion of internal jugular vein (IJV) catheters in an emergency department (ED) setting. Materials and Methods: Patients requiring IJV catheterization were prospectively recruited over a period of 1 year at a single center. Cannulation was done either by the AL or USG technique, according to ED physician's discretion. A preset pro forma was completed for each central line placed. Variables were compared using the independent t-test, Fisher's exact test, and the nonparametric Mann-Whitney U-test. Results and Discussion: Seventy patients were enrolled, of which 35 patients underwent IJV cannulation by USG-guided technique (USG group) and 35 patients by the AL technique (AL group). There were a 100% success rate (35/35) for cannulation in the USG group and a 91.4% success rate (32/35) in the AL group. The catheter was placed on the first attempt in 17 (48.6%) patients in the AL group and 32 (91.4%) patients in the USG group. In th AL group, there were three failed cannulation attempts in comparison to the USG group. The mean start to flash time for the AL technique was 16.59 s (±10.67) and 4.86 s (±2.18) in the USG group. The mean cannulation time was 305.88 s (±66.84) in the AL group and 293.03 s (±71.15) in the USG group. A total of seven acute complications were noted, of which 2 (5.7%) in the USG group and 5 (14.3%) in the AL group. Conclusion: The real-time USG guided technique significantly reduces the number of attempts to cannulate, has a higher first-pass success rate, a quicker flash time, and fewer complications when compared to the AL technique. In EDs equipped with USG, insertion of IJV catheters under real-time USG guidance should become the standard of care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-191
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Medical Ultrasound
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 01-10-2019
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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