Central venous access: evolving roles of radiology and other specialties nationally over two decades

J Am Coll Radiol. 2013 Aug;10(8):603-12. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2013.02.002. Epub 2013 Jun 14.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to evaluate national trends in central venous access (CVA) procedures over 2 decades with regard to changing specialty group roles and places of service.

Methods: Aggregated claims data for temporary central venous catheter and long-term CVA device (CVAD) procedures were extracted from Medicare Physician/Supplier Procedure Summary Master Files from 1992 through 2011. Central venous catheter and CVAD procedure volumes by specialty group and place of service were studied.

Results: Between 1992 and 2011, temporary and long-term CVA placement procedures increased from 638,703 to 808,071 (+27%) and from 76,444 to 316,042 (+313%), respectively. For temporary central venous catheters, radiology (from 0.4% in 1992 to 32.6% in 2011) now exceeds anesthesiology (from 37% to 22%) and surgery (from 30.4% to 11.7%) as the dominant provider group. Surgery continues to dominate in placement and explantation of long-term CVADs (from 80.7% to 50.4% and from 81.6% to 47.7%, respectively), but radiology's share has grown enormously (from 0.7% to 37.6% and from 0.2% to 28.6%). Although volumes remain small (<10% of all procedures), midlevel practitioners have experienced >100-fold growth for most services. The inpatient hospital remains the dominant site for temporary CVA procedures (90.0% in 1992 and 81.2% in 2011), but the placement of long-term CVADs has shifted from the inpatient (from 68.9% to 45.2%) to hospital outpatient (from 26.9% to 44.3%) setting. In all hospital settings combined, radiologists place approximately half of all tunneled catheters and three-quarters all peripherally inserted central catheters.

Conclusions: Over the past 2 decades, CVA procedures on Medicare beneficiaries have increased considerably. Radiology is now the dominant overall provider.

Keywords: Medicare master files; Radiology and radiologists; central venous access procedures; medical economics; procedure utilization; socioeconomic trends.

MeSH terms

  • Catheterization, Central Venous / economics
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / statistics & numerical data*
  • Central Venous Catheters / economics
  • Central Venous Catheters / statistics & numerical data*
  • Current Procedural Terminology
  • Humans
  • Medicare / economics
  • Medicare / statistics & numerical data*
  • Radiology, Interventional / economics
  • Radiology, Interventional / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States
  • Utilization Review