Major complications of percutaneous subclavian vein catheters

Am J Surg. 1979 Dec;138(6):869-74. doi: 10.1016/0002-9610(79)90313-1.


New and reportedly safet techniques for subclavian venipuncture with the passage of central venous catheters appear regularly in the surgical literature [55--59]; yet reports of major complications continue to appear as well. We have reported on eight patients with major complications of percutaneous subclavian vein catheters, two of whom died. In our own hospital an improved educational program for junior house staff and nurses has been instituted. Better supervision of junior house staff when performing this potentially lethal technique is necessary. Daily inspection of catheters, early removal of unnecessary catheters, and improved equipment should help to prevent these complications in the future.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Catheterization / adverse effects*
  • Catheters, Indwelling / adverse effects
  • Embolism / etiology
  • Embolism, Air / etiology*
  • Female
  • Fluid Therapy / adverse effects
  • Foreign Bodies / diagnostic imaging
  • Foreign Bodies / surgery*
  • Hemothorax / complications
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pleura
  • Pneumothorax / complications
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Radiography
  • Subclavian Vein* / surgery
  • Wounds, Penetrating / surgery