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Anaesthesiol Reanim. 2002;27(5):131-7.

[Do position control methods for central venous catheters prevent complications? Hydromediastinum caused by an initially correctly placed tri-lumen subclavian catheter by using intra-atrial ECG recording--a case report].

[Article in German]

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Klinik und Poliklinik für Anästhesiologie und Intensivtherapie, Universität Leipzig.


Central venous catheters (CVCs) can be associated with various complications which arise during insertion, with the catheter in situ or upon its removal. Here we report a case of secondary CVC malposition that occurred despite checks of CVC position by different methods. A subclavian triple-lumen catheter was retracted until intra-atrial ECG indicated reversal to a normal P-wave. Blood was successfully aspirated through all three lumens, and the catheter was fixed at 11 centimeters intracorporal length and used intraoperatively. A postoperative chest X-ray demonstrated an intravenous CVC length of only a few centimeters, which was accepted because of the inconspicuous results of previous monitoring. Fifteen hours after CVC insertion, the patient developed a swelling in the subclavian and right neck region, a pronounced hydromediastinum and small bilateral pleural effusions caused by paravenous infusion through the most proximal CVC lumen. After instantaneous removal of the catheter, the patient recovered without further complications. This case demonstrates that even carefully-fixed multi-lumen catheters can partially dislocate due to a patient's movements or changes of position. Therefore, repeated aspiration of blood from the most proximal lumen should be performed to detect secondary CVC malposition. Moreover, repeated chest radiographs are useful in verifying a correct CVC position and detecting late complications. In summary, CVC complications can occur with delay, are potentially life-threatening and may necessitate repeated checks of catheter position. This case report discusses different approaches to detecting malposition and reviews rare CVC complications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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