The Internal jugular veins are asymmetric. Usefulness of ultrasound before catheterization

Intensive Care Med. 2001 Jan;27(1):301-5. doi: 10.1007/s001340000792.


Objective: To demonstrate an asymmetry of the internal jugular veins, a finding which will have consequences for catheterization.

Design: Prospective study.

Setting: The medical ICU of a university-affiliated teaching hospital.

Patients: Eighty critically ill consecutive patients.

Intervention: Measurement of the cross-sectional area of the internal jugular veins. Search for an asymmetry, defined as an area at least twice that of the contralateral vein.

Results: An asymmetry was noted in 62.5% of the patients. The dominant vein was the right in only 68 % of these cases. In addition, 23% of the 160 jugular internal veins had an area of 0.4 cm2 or less.

Conclusions: Using a simple technique, ultrasound identifies the dominant internal jugular vein, thus indicating the safer side before blind catheterization.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Catheterization, Central Venous / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Jugular Veins* / anatomy & histology
  • Jugular Veins* / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Ultrasonography / methods*
  • Venous Thrombosis / diagnostic imaging