Effects of different modes of ventilation and head position on the size of the vena jugularis interna

Swiss Med Wkly. 2014 May 7;144:w13946. doi: 10.4414/smw.2014.13946. eCollection 2014.


Purpose: Right internal jugular vein (RIJV) catheterisation is a common procedure in patients undergoing surgery. We aimed to compare diameters and the cross-sectional area (CSA) of the RIJV when the head is in a neutral or 30-degree rotated position during mechanical ventilation in various modes and spontaneous ventilation.

Methods: Thirty patients undergoing surgery were included in the study. In each patient, still ultrasound images of the vena jugularis interna were taken with the head in a neutral position and with the neck rotated 30 degrees to the left, first under spontaneous ventilation (group S), then after the induction of anaesthesia under volume-controlled ventilation (group V) and under pressure-controlled ventilation (group P). The six still images were evaluated in terms of transverse and anteroposterior diameters and CSA.

Results: Diameters in the neutral and lateral positions in group S were significantly smaller than in group P and group V (neutral transverse p = 0.01, anteroposterior p = 0.041, rotated transverse p = 0.01, anteroposterior p = 0.03). The CSAs of the RIJV in the neutral and lateral positions were significantly larger in group P and group V than Group S (lateral CSA p = 0.001, neutral CSA p = 0.002). CSA increased significantly only in group P when the head was rotated 30 degrees laterally (p = 0.002).

Conclusion: We conclude that both pressure-controlled and volume-controlled mechanical ventilation have similar effects on the CSA and diameters of the RIJV. Positioning of the head with a 30-degree rotation laterally has different effects on CSA depending on the ventilation mode used. A neutral position should be preferred with spontaneous ventilation whereas 30 degree rotation should be preferred in patients under pressure-controlled and volume-controlled ventilation.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Catheterization, Central Venous*
  • Female
  • Head
  • Humans
  • Jugular Veins / anatomy & histology*
  • Jugular Veins / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Size
  • Patient Positioning*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiration, Artificial / methods*
  • Rotation
  • Ultrasonography