Radiologic placement of tunneled central catheters: rates of success and of immediate complications in a large series

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1999 Aug;173(2):457-60. doi: 10.2214/ajr.173.2.10430153.


Objective: The objective was to examine the success and immediate complication rates in a large series of radiologically placed tunneled central venous catheters.

Subjects and methods: We prospectively recorded the success and immediate complication rates in 880 consecutive radiologically placed tunneled central venous catheters. We also recorded the indication for placement, the success of placement, the number of passes required, and whether a double- or single-wall puncture occurred.

Results: Hemodialysis was the most common indication for long-term venous access. Venous access was successful in all patients, and catheter placement was successful in 99.4% of patients, with only five failed placements. All patients in whom placement was initially unsuccessful underwent successful placement the same day. All catheters were placed using real-time sonographic guidance. Most were placed in an internal jugular vein, with 87.4% requiring only a single needle pass. The immediate complication rate was only 4.0%, and no major complications occurred.

Conclusion: To our knowledge, this series is the largest for which the immediate complication and success rates for radiologically placed central venous catheters have been reported. Our results suggest that radiologic placement of tunneled central venous catheters is a safe and effective alternative to surgery.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / adverse effects*
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / instrumentation
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / methods
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiology, Interventional* / instrumentation
  • Radiology, Interventional* / methods
  • Radiology, Interventional* / statistics & numerical data
  • Safety
  • Transducers