Intravenous literature: Chhabra, L. and Spodick, D.H. (2012) Complete heart block-an underappreciated serious complication of central venous catheter
placement. Journal of Electrocardiology. Jul 16. [Epub ahead of print].
Central venous catheter (CVC) placement is a common bedside procedure that is frequently performed in critically ill patients. More than 5 million CVCs are inserted annually across the United States alone. Procedure-related complications may vary from minor bleeding to life-threatening complications such as arterial perforation and pneumothorax. Cardiac arrhythmias can often occur during the guidewire placement, and bundle-branch blocks have also been reported. We herewith report a case of complete heart block during CVC placement, which is a rare but serious complication of this procedure. Because the patient had a preexisting left bundle-branch block, complete heart block likely resulted from a probable trauma to the right bundle branch during the guidewire insertion.