Venous access is a key component of managing haemorrhagic shock. Obtaining intravenous access in trauma patients is challenging due to circulatory collapse in shock. This literature review examines the feasibility of direct puncture and cannulation of the brachiocephalic veins (BCVs) for intravenous access in shocked adult trauma patients. Three literature searches were conducted. OVID Medline was searched for articles on the use of the BCVs for venous access in adults and on the BCVs in shock. A third systematic search of OVID Medline, OVID Embase and Cochrane Library was conducted on the use of the BCVs for access in shocked trauma patients. After full-text review, 18 studies were selected for inclusion for the search on the use of the BCVs for access in adults. No studies met the inclusion criteria for the search on the BCVs in shock and BCV access in shocked trauma patients. The BCVs are currently used for central venous access, haemodialysis and totally implantable venous access devices (TIVADs) in adults. There is a preference for the right BCV (RBCV) over the left as the RBCV is more superficial, straighter, larger, has less anatomical variation and avoids the risk of thoracic duct puncture. The BCVs appear to be stabilised in shock by surrounding bony structures. The BCVs may provide a site for initial, rapid access in trauma resuscitation. Further research is required to determine if the BCVs collapse in shock and if venous access using the BCVs is feasible in a trauma resuscitation setting.Reference:
Green ML, Kim Y, Hendel S, Groombridge CJ, Fitzgerald M. Review article: Feasibility of brachiocephalic vein central venous access for the resuscitation of shocked adult trauma patients: A literature review. Emerg Med Australas. 2023 Nov 6. doi: 10.1111/1742-6723.14332. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37932025.