We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
Article |

Perforation of the Great Vessels During Central Venous Line Placement

John F. Robinson, MD; William A. Robinson, MD, PhD; Allen Cohn, MD; Kavita Garg, MD; John D. Armstrong II, MA, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1995;155(11):1225-1228. doi:10.1001/archinte.1995.00430110149016.
Text Size: A A A
Published online


Background:  Placement of central venous lines for the administration of a variety of therapies has become common practice. The most severe complication of this procedure is perforation of a large vessel, with bleeding, infusion of fluids into an extravascular site, and death. It is not clear from currently available data how often this occurs, what risk factors are associated, and how this complication can be avoided.

Methods:  We reviewed the records of all patients who were identified as having perforation of a major vessel during central venous line placement occurring between 1986 and 1993 at the University Hospital, the major teaching facility of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver. Data collected included the age and sex of the patient, diagnosis, type of catheter and site of placement, operator, means and time to the diagnosis of perforation, and outcome.

Results:  Eleven such complications were identified and 10 of them are reviewed in detail. The overall incidence was less than 1%. Most complications occurred when the right subclavian vein approach was attempted, and they were thought to result from guidewire kinking during advancement of a vessel dilator. All medical specialties and levels of training were involved. Four of 10 patients died of immediate or subsequent complications of the perforation.

Conclusions:  Perforation of a great vessel is an uncommon, but often fatal, complication of central venous line placement. It occurs most often, when using the right subclavian vein approach, from guidewire kinking. Physicians performing this procedure should have formal training in central venous catheterization and be aware of this complication, its presumed cause, diagnosis, and treatment.(Arch Intern Med. 1995;155:1225-1228)


Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?





Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

51 Citations

Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.