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Alonso-Quintela, P., Oulego-Erroz, I., Silvia, R.B., Manoel, M.F., Santiago, L.A. and Antonio, R.N. (2015) Location of the Central Venous Catheter Tip With Bedside Ultrasound in Young Children: Can We Eliminate the Need for Chest Radiography? Pediatric Critical Care Medicine. July 15th. .


OBJECTIVE: To compare the use of bedside ultrasound and chest radiography to verify central venous catheter tip positioning.

DESIGN: Prospective observational study.

SETTING: PICU of a university hospital.

PATIENTS: Patients aged 0-14 who required a central venous catheter.


MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Central venous catheter tip location was confirmed by ultrasound and chest radiography. Central venous catheters were classified as intra-atrial or extra-atrial according to their positions in relation to the cavoatrial junction. Central venous catheters located outside the vena cava were considered malpositioned. The distance between the catheter tip and the cavoatrial junction was measured. The time elapsed from image capture to interpretation was recorded. Fifty-one central venous catheters in 40 patients were analyzed. Chest radiography and ultrasound results agreed 94% of the time (κ coefficient, 0.638; p < 0.001) in determining intra-atrial and extra-atrial locations and 92% of the time in determining the diagnosis of central venous catheter malposition (κ coefficient, 0.670; p < 0.001). Chest radiography indicated a greater distance between the central venous catheter tip and the cavoatrial junction than measured by ultrasound, with a mean difference of 0.38 cm (95% CI, +0.27, +0.48 cm). Three central venous catheters were classified as extra-atrial by chest radiography but as intra-atrial by ultrasound. To locate the central venous catheter tip, ultrasound required less time than chest radiography (22.96 min [20.43 min] vs 2.23 min [1.06 min]; p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Bedside ultrasound showed a good agreement with chest radiography in detecting central venous catheter tip location and revealing incorrect positions. Ultrasound could be a preferable method for routine verification of central venous catheter tip and can contribute to increased patient safety.

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