Valsalva and gravitational variability of the internal jugular vein and common femoral vein: ultrasound assessment

Eur J Radiol. 2006 May;58(2):307-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2005.11.005. Epub 2005 Dec 13.


Purpose: Central venous cannulation via the common femoral vein is an important starting point for many interventions. The purpose of this study was to determine the optimum conditions for cannulation of the femoral vein and to compare these with the relative changes in the internal jugular vein.

Methods: High-resolution 2D ultrasound was utilised to determine variability of the calibre of the femoral and internal jugular veins in 10 healthy subjects. Venous diameter was assessed during the Valsalva manoeuvre and in different degrees of the Trendelenburg position.

Results: The Valsalva manoeuvre significantly increased the size of the femoral and internal jugular veins. There was a relatively greater increase in femoral vein diameter when compared with the internal jugular vein of 40 and 29%, respectively. Changes in body inclination (Trendelenburg position) did not significantly alter the luminal diameter of the femoral vein. However, it significantly increased internal jugular vein diameter.

Conclusions: Femoral vein cannulation is augmented by the Valsalva manoeuvre but not significantly altered by the gravitational position of the subject.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / methods
  • Female
  • Femoral Vein / anatomy & histology
  • Femoral Vein / diagnostic imaging*
  • Gravitation*
  • Head-Down Tilt / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Jugular Veins / anatomy & histology
  • Jugular Veins / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Reference Values
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler / methods
  • Valsalva Maneuver / physiology*
  • Vasodilation / physiology