Aim: The aim of this study was to compare the short and long axis approaches to ultrasound guided right internal jugular vein cannulation with respect to indicators of success.
Methods: Patients undergoing cardiac surgery requiring central venous cannulation (99 patients) were randomised to undergo either long or short axis ultrasound guided cannulation of the right internal jugular vein by a skilled anaesthetist. First pass success, number of needle passes, procedural taken and complications were documented for each procedure.
Results: The right internal jugular vein was successfully cannulated in all 99 patients. The first pass success rate was significantly higher in the short axis 98% group compared to the long axis group 78% [48:1 (98%) versus 39:11 (78%) p <0.006]. Procedural time was comparable in both the groups [39.6 (18.4) versus 46.9 (42.4)]. Fewer needle redirections were required in the short axis group [1.02 (0.02) versus 1.24 (0.56) p <0.004]. Carotid artery puncture only occurred in the long axis group.
Conclusions: We conclude that anaesthetists with experience in ultrasound guided internal jugular vein cannulation, have higher first pass success rate and less carotid artery puncture when a short axis, rather than a long axis, approach is employed.