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Hemodialysis catheter implantation in the axillary vein by ultrasound guidance versus palpation or anatomical reference

Authors Valencia CAR, Villa CAB, Cardona JAC

Received 15 April 2013

Accepted for publication 17 July 2013

Published 14 October 2013 Volume 2013:6 Pages 215—221

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJNRD.S46788

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2


Cesar A Restrepo Valencia,1 Carlos A Buitrago Villa,1 Jose A Chacon Cardona2

1Internal Medicine, Nephrology, 2Epidemiology, Caldas University, Manizales, Colombia


Background: We compared the results of four different methods of hemodialysis catheter insertion in the medial segment of the axillary vein: ultrasound guidance, palpation, anatomical reference, and prior transient catheter.
Methods: All patients that required acute or chronic hemodialysis and for whom it was determined impossible or not recommended either to place a catheter in the internal jugular vein (for instance, those patients with a tracheostomy), or to practice arteriovenous fistula or graft; it was then essential to obtain an alternative vascular access. When the procedure of axillary vein catheter insertion was performed in the Renal Care Facility (RCF), ultrasound guidance was used, but in the intensive care unit (ICU), this resource was unavailable, so the palpation or anatomical reference technique was used.
Results: Two nephrologists with experience in the technique performed 83 procedures during a period lasting 15 years and 8 months (from January 1997–August 2012): 41 by ultrasound guidance; 19 by anatomical references; 15 by palpation of the contiguous axillary artery; and 8 through a temporary axillary catheter previously placed. The ultrasound-guided patients had fewer punctures than other groups, but the value was not statistically significant. Arterial punctures were infrequent in all techniques. Analyzing all the procedure-related complications, such as hematoma, pneumothorax, brachial-plexus injury, as well as the reasons for catheter removal, no differences were observed among the groups. The functioning time was longer in the ultrasound-guided and previous catheter groups. In 15 years and 8 months of surveillance, no clinical or image evidence for axillary vein stenosis was found.
Conclusion: The ultrasound guide makes the procedure of inserting catheters in the axillary veins easier, but knowledge of the anatomy of the midaxillary region and the ability to feel the axillary artery pulse (for the palpation method) also allow relatively easy successful implant of catheters in the axillary veins.

Keywords: hemodialysis, catheter, axillary venous, ultrasound guidance

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