Clinical Case Database / Category: Practical Procedure

Insertion & care of central venous catheters

Publication details

Duncan P Fraser, Elizabeth Bradley, Dr Brian Jenkins
Foundation Years Journal, volume 9, issue 9, p.19 (123Doc Education, London, October 2015)


A central venous catheter (CVC) is a device that is inserted into the superior vena cava. Central venous catheterisation was first performed in 1929 and is now common practice in a variety of health care settings (1). Although CVCs may be inserted by any doctor who has been trained and competencyassessed, the majority are inserted by anaesthetists and intensivists to be used in the high dependency setting. Knowledge of the indications and care of CVC lines is, however, essential knowledge for any foundation doctor.

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Duncan P Fraser

FY1 Doctor, Department of Anaesthetics, Prince Charles Hospital
Cwm Taf University LHB, Merthyr Tydfil, CF47 9DT

Elizabeth Bradley

FY1 Doctor, Department of Anaesthetics, Prince Charles Hospital
Cwm Taf University LHB, Merthyr Tydfil, CF47 9DT

Dr Brian Jenkins (Corresponding author)

Senior Lecturer in Anaesthetics and Critical Care Medicine
Department of Anaesthetics, Heath Park Campus, Cardiff University, CF4 4XN


1. Smith RN, Nolan JP. Central Venous Catheters. BMJ 2013;347:f6570.
2. Taylor RW, Palagiri AV. Central Venous Catheterization. Crit Care Med 2007;35(5):1390-1396.
3. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Guidance on the use of ultrasound locating devices for
placing central venous catheters. 2002.
4. Denys BG, Uretsky BF. Anatomical variations of internal jugular vein location: Impact on central venous
access. Crit Care Med. 1991;19(12).
5. Napalkov P, Felici DM, Chu LK, Jacobs JR and Begelman SM. Incidence of catheter-related complications
in patients with central venous or hemodialysis catheters: a health care claims database analysis. BMC
Cardiovasc Disord. 2013; 13(86)
6. Mermel LA, Allon M, Bouza E, Craven DE, Flynn P, O'Grady NP, et al. Clinical Practice Guidelines for the
Diagnosis and Management of Intravascular Catheter-Related Infection: 2009 Update by the Infectious
Diseases Society of America. Clin Infect Dis 2009;49:1-45


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About the Clinical Cases Database

T​he Foundation Years Clinical Cases Database is​ a selection of 600 peer-reviewed clinical cases in the field of patient safety and clinical practice, specifically focused on the clinical information needs of junior doctors, based around the Foundation Year Curriculum programme (MMC). The cases have been chosen to align with the Foundation Year Curriculum.

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