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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Ultrasound-Guided Cannulation: Time to Bring Subclavian Central Lines Back


Despite multiple advantages, subclavian vein (SCV) cannulation via the traditional landmark approach has become less used in comparison to ultrasound (US) guided internal jugular catheterization due to a higher rate of mechanical complications. A growing body of evidence indicates that SCV catheterization with real-time US guidance can be accomplished safely and efficiently. While several cannulation approaches with real-time US guidance have been described, available literature suggests that the infraclavicular, longitudinal “in-plane” technique may be preferred. This approach allows for direct visualization of needle advancement, which reduces risk of complications and improves successful placement. Infraclavicular SCV cannulation requires simultaneous use of US during needle advancement, but for an inexperienced operator, it is more easily learned compared to the traditional landmark approach. In this article, we review the evidence supporting the use of US guidance for SCV catheterization and discuss technical aspects of the procedure itself.

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