Mechanical complications from insertion of subclavian venous feeding catheters: Comparison of de novo percutaneous venipuncture to change of catheter over guidewire

H. H. Newsome, C. W. Armstrong, G. C. Mayhall, H. J. Sugerman, K. Miller, A. Rich, H. Dalton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations


Since a percutaneous catheter insertion into the subclavian vein can be tedious, time consuming, and risky, we have compared the morbiity of 137 de novo subclavian catheter insertions to that of 93 reinsertions over guidewire. Mechanical complications were significantly higher (p < 0.03) in those with catheter insertions (8.8%) than in those with the guidewire insertions (2.2%). These included pneumothorax (4), arterial puncture (4), catheter-size bleed (3), and hemothorax (1) in the catheter insertion group and local bleeding (1) and hydrothorax (1) in the guidewire insertion group. The difference in complications between methods is probably inherent in the techniques. Operator experience was not a factor: 55% of the physicians in each group had previously done less than 26 subclavian venous catheterizations. Preliminary analysis indicates that the infection rate, as determined by semiquantitative, cultures, is the same in each group. When considering the equal potential for infection, we conclude that change over a guidewire is an acceptable alternative to contralateral de novo percutaneous subclavian venipuncture for feeding catheter insertion. In view of fewer mechanical complications and greater ease of insertion, change of subclavian feeding catheters by guidewire is probably the method of choice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)560-562
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1984
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science

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