Ultrasound-guided placement of central venous catheters: A comprehensive guide for the clinician

T. S. Steenvoorden*, J. M. Smit, J. Lopez Matta, D. J. van Westerloo, P. R. Tuinman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Using ultrasound as a guidance tool during central venous catheter placement has repeatedly been shown to improve procedural safety. More recent evidence has shown its potential as a diagnostic modality to detect placement-associated complications. A protocol combining these modalities is lacking. This article uses the Indication, Acquisition, Interpretation and Medical decision-making (I-AIM) model, common to other ultrasound protocols, to provide a systematic ultrasound approach to guide central venous catheter placement and assess potential related complications. It is part of a larger series published in this journal. Methods: Relevant articles were found in a thorough search in PubMed using the MeSH terms: “diagnostic imaging” or “ultrasonography” or “sonography” and “central venous catheter” or “central venous cannulation” and “complications” or “placement procedure”. Studies conducted on patients younger than 18 years and studies conducted in animals were excluded. Two independent researchers evaluated the articles for relevance and quality. The results of the various studies were used to create the following structured ultrasound approach. Recommended approach: Following the I-AIM model, acquiring the most valuable images is subdivided into patient, probe, picture and protocol considerations. Ultrasound guidance during central venous catheter placement should be conducted in four steps: pre-cannulation, confirming patency, dynamic guidance during insertion, and confirmation of intravenous central venous catheter position. After these steps, ultrasound should be used in the diagnostic evaluation of malposition and iatrogenic pneumothorax. Conclusions: This model provides a comprehensive and ready to use ultrasound approach to guide central venous catheter placement and assess potential placement associated complications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-252
Number of pages9
JournalNetherlands Journal of Critical Care
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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