US-guided puncture of the internal jugular vein: complications and anatomic considerations

J Vasc Interv Radiol. 1998 Mar-Apr;9(2):333-8. doi: 10.1016/s1051-0443(98)70277-5.


Purpose: To examine success and complication rates for ultrasound (US)-guided cannulation of the internal jugular vein (IJV) in comparison with blind techniques and to present the variations in anatomy of the IJV.

Materials and methods: Data were prospectively collected for 869 cases of sonographically guided cannulation of the IJV. In all cases, the side of the puncture, procedural success or failure, and any immediate complications were recorded. In 764 (88%) cases, the number of passes required and whether a single- or double-wall puncture was used were recorded. In 690 (79%) cases, IJV diameter and depth were recorded, while its relationship to the common carotid artery (CCA) was noted in 659 (76%) cases.

Results: Cannulation was successful in 868 (99.9%) cases. Complications occurred in 20 (2.3%) cases. Eighty-seven percent of cannulations were achieved with one pass and 83% with a single-wall puncture. Success at first pass was significantly correlated with right-sided puncture and the diameter of the IJV. In 5.5% of cases, the IJV lay medial to the CCA, making successful cannulation with use of the landmark technique unlikely.

Conclusions: US-guided cannulation of the IJV is superior to blind techniques, increasing the success rate and incidence of first pass cannulation and reducing the incidence of complications.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / adverse effects
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Jugular Veins* / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional*