Ultrasound-based prediction of cephalic vein cutdown success prior to totally implantable venous access device placement

J Vasc Surg Venous Lymphat Disord. 2019 Nov;7(6):865-869.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jvsv.2019.07.004. Epub 2019 Sep 5.


Background: Surgical venous cutdown is a method for totally implantable venous access device (TIVAD) insertion. The main drawback of this technique is its higher failure rate when compared with the percutaneous approach, which is mostly related to anatomic variations of the cephalic vein. The aim of this study was to assess preoperative ultrasound imaging as a tool to predict cephalic vein cutdown failure for TIVAD insertion.

Methods: Ultrasound and operative reports of a cohort of patients undergoing TIVAD insertion by cephalic vein cutdown were reviewed. Ultrasound venous (vein visibility, diameter, length, subcutaneous depth, vein path, and subclavian junction visibility) and patient variables were tested by logistic regression as predictors of TIVAD insertion failure.

Results: One hundred sixty consecutive patients underwent cephalic vein cutdown for attempted TIVAD insertion. An inability to visualize the vein on the preoperative ultrasound examination (odds ratio, 4.39; 95% confidence interval, 1.57-12.30; P < .05) and depth of the vein (odds ratio, 1.07; 95% confidence interval, 1.00-1.15; P = .042) were predictors of failure of TIVAD insertion by cephalic vein cutdown.

Conclusions: Preoperative ultrasound examination allows identifying patients at risk of failure of TIVAD insertion by cephalic vein cutdown. Preoperative ultrasound examination constitutes an efficient tool for choosing the most appropriate surgical approach and improving patient comfort.

Keywords: Cephalic vein; Implantable port; Ultrasound; Venous access.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / adverse effects
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / instrumentation*
  • Catheters, Indwelling*
  • Central Venous Catheters*
  • Clinical Decision-Making
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography*
  • Veins / diagnostic imaging
  • Veins / surgery*
  • Venous Cutdown* / adverse effects