Intravenous literature: Harber, C.R., Harvey, D.J.R., Wiles, M.D. and Bogod, D.G. (2010) The ability of anaesthetists to identify the position of the right internal jugular vein correctly using anatomical landmarks. Anaesthesia. 65(9), p.885â€“888.
We performed a study of 85 consenting anaesthetists to assess their ability to locate the right internal jugular vein using a landmark technique. Initially, a questionnaire was completed ascertaining previous user experience. An ultrasound probe, using the midpoint as an â€˜imaginary needleâ€™, was placed on the neck of a healthy volunteer (with previously confirmed normal anatomy) and the image recorded. Both anaesthetist and volunteer were blinded to the screen until the image was stored. Anaesthetists were grouped into those in training before 2002 (Pre-2002, n = 58), when National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines recommending ultrasound guidance were published, and those training after this time point (Post-2002, n = 27). The success rate for identifying the internal jugular vein using the landmark technique was 36/58 (62%) in the Pre-2002 group and 6/27 (22%) in the Post-2002 group (p < 0.001). Three participants in each group would have hit the carotid artery (5% Pre-2002 and 11% Post-2002 respectively; p = 0.2). The advent of routine use of ultrasound has resulted in a cohort of anaesthetists who are unable to use a landmark technique effectively or safely. This has significant training implications.