Mechanical complications of central venous catheters

Lewis A. Eisen, Mangala Narasimhan, Jeffrey S. Berger, Paul H. Mayo, Mark J. Rosen, Roslyn F. Schneider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

281 Scopus citations


We analyzed 385 consecutive central venous catheter (CVC) attempts over a 6-month period. All critically ill patients 18 years of age or older requiring a CVC were included. The rate of mechanical complications not including failure to place was 14%. Complications included failure to place the CVC (n = 86), arterial puncture (n = 18), improper position (n = 14), pneumothorax (n = 5 in 258 subclavian and internal jugular attempts), hematoma (n = 3), hemothorax (n = 1), and asystolic cardiac arrest of unknown etiology (n = 1). Male patients had a significantly higher complication rate than female patients (37% vs 27%, P = .04). The subclavian approach had a higher complication rate than the internal jugular or the femoral approach (39% vs 33% vs. 24%, P = .02). The complication rate increased with the number of percutaneous punctures, with a rate of 54% when more than 2 punctures were required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-46
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Intensive Care Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Central venous catheterization
  • Complications
  • Critical care
  • Education
  • Pneumothorax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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