01/10/2001 Biology Medicine
DOI: 10.1038/sj.jp.7210541 SemanticScholar ID: 6588142 MAG: 1983453523

Central Venous Catheter Tip in the Right Atrium: A Risk Factor for Neonatal Cardiac Tamponade

Publication Summary

Fatal cardiac tamponade is a well recognised complication of the use of central venous catheters in neonatal patients. There is controversy over optimum catheter tip position to balance catheter performance against risk of adverse events. We report a series of five cases of tamponade occurring in one neonatal unit over a 4-year period, related to catheter tip placement in the right atrium. Right atrial catheter angulation, curvature or looping (CA) was present in all five cases on plain radiograph. It was frequently seen in other patients over the same period. Review of the literature indicates that CA was present in 6 of the 11 previous cases where the presence or absence of CA can be determined. Where right atrial catheter tip placement is accepted, clinicians should be aware of this characteristic catheter configuration, which is a major risk factor for cardiac tamponade. We recommend that catheter tips should not be placed in the right atrium to avoid risk of tamponade.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Jonathan Darling

Dr. Jonathan Darling

University of Leeds - Clinical Associate Professor in Paediatrics and Child Health and Medical Education

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