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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Ultrasonography of a Helical Left Common Carotid Artery


Case Presentation: An 83-year-old woman was admitted to the intensive care unit for septic shock at which point an internal jugular central venous line was placed. The patient’s common carotid artery was visualized in an atypical location, lateral to the internal jugular vein. Further inspection revealed the common carotid artery travelling in a rotational trajectory around the internal jugular vein.

Discussion: For at least two decades, point-of-care ultrasound has become the standard of care for placing central venous lines. This surprising anatomical orientation is rare and cautions physicians to fully explore a patient’s anatomy prior to placing central lines.

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