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Crit Care. 2002 Jun;6(3):199-204. Epub 2002 Apr 18.

Clinical review: complications and risk factors of peripheral arterial catheters used for haemodynamic monitoring in anaesthesia and intensive care medicine.

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Department of General Surgery, St Mary's Hospital, Newport, Isle of Wight, UK.


In order to evaluate the complications and risk factors associated with peripheral arterial catheters used for haemodynamic monitoring, we reviewed the literature published from 1978 to 2001. We closely examined the three most commonly used arterial cannulation sites. The reviewed papers included a total of 19,617 radial, 3899 femoral and 1989 axillary artery catheterizations. Factors that contribute to higher complication rates were investigated. Major complications occurred in fewer than 1% of the cases, and rates were similar for the radial, femoral and axillary arteries. We conclude that arterial cannulation is a safe procedure.

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