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Acad Emerg Med. 1997 Dec;4(12):1118-21.

Incidence of deep venous thrombosis associated with femoral venous catheterization.

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Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center, Plainfield, NJ, USA.



To determine in adult medical patients the incidence of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) resulting from femoral venous catheterization (FVC).


A prospective, observational study was performed at a 420-bed community teaching hospital. Heparin-coated 7-FR cm femoral venous catheters were inserted unilaterally into a femoral vein. Each contralateral leg served as a control site. Age, gender, number of FVC days, DVT risk factors, administration of DVT prophylaxis, and DVT formation and site were tabulated for each patient. Venous duplex sonography was performed bilaterally on each patient within 7 days of femoral venous catheter removal.


Catheters were placed in 29 men and 13 women. Femoral DVT was identified by venous duplex sonography in 11 (26.2%) of the FVC legs and none (0%) in the control legs. Posterior tibial and popliteal DVT was identified in both the FVC and control legs of 1 patient. DVT formation at the site of FVC insertion was highly significant (p = 0.005). There were no statistically significant associations with age (p = 0.42), gender (p = 0.73), number of DVT risk factors (p = 0.17), number of FVC days (p = 0.89), or DVT prophylaxis (p = 0.99).


Placement of femoral catheters for central venous access is associated with a significant incidence of femoral DVT as detected by venous duplex sonography criteria at the site of femoral venous catheter placement. Physicians must be aware of this risk when choosing this vascular access route for adult medical patients. Further studies to assess the relative risk for DVT anf its clinical sequelae when using the femoral vs other central venous catheter routes are indicated.

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