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Am Surg. 2004 Jul;70(7):635-44.

Pinch-off syndrome: case report and collective review of the literature.

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Department of Surgery, St. Elizabeth Health Center, Youngstown, Ohio 44501, USA.


Pinch-off syndrome (POS) occurs when a long-term central venous catheter is compressed between the clavicle and the first rib. The compression can cause transient obstruction of the catheter and may result in a tear or even complete transsection and embolization of the catheter. POS may be preceded by a finding of "pinch-off sign" on chest X-ray (CXR) films in which the catheter is indented as it passes beneath the clavicle. We performed a collective review of the 109 cases of POS in the medical literature and report 3 new cases. On average, POS occurs 5.3 months after the insertion of the catheter but has ranged from immediately after insertion to 60 months later. If the subclavian vein is used for access, then an upright CXR should be obtained after the procedure and periodically thereafter to rule-out POS. Treatment of POS is removal of the catheter. If the tip of the catheter has embolized, it can usually be retrieved percutaneously with a transvenous snare. POS can be prevented by using the internal jugular vein for access rather than the subclavian vein.

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