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A Novel Objective Approach Towards Physicians' Knowledge and Practice Patterns to Optimize Central Venous Catheter Placement: A Cross-sectional Study

  • Rakan M. AlQahtani1

1Assistant Professor, Department of Critical Care Medicine, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

DOI: 10.22514/sv.2020.16.0052 Vol.16,Issue 2,October 2020 pp.124-133

Published: 28 October 2020

*Corresponding Author(s): Rakan M. AlQahtani E-mail:;


Study objective: Central venous catheterization is an essential component of intensive care of critically ill patients, and proper positioning of the catheter is essential to prevent position-related complications. This study was conducted by using digital tape measurement to objectively assess clinician preferences for central venous catheter positioning based on specific position levels and landmarks on post-procedural chest radiographs. Design: A cross-sectional study using electronic questionnaire survey. Setting: Single academic teaching hospital participated in this study. Participants: The study enrolled 276 physicians from multiple clinical disciplines. Interventions: None. Measurements: A seven-level reference system labeled on a sample chest radiograph was used to identify the acceptable lower and upper limits and landmarks used to determine the optimal central venous catheter tip position as well as the pattern of clinical practices based on the specialty and level of experience of participants. Main results: Among the 276 respondents, the ratio of cumulative acceptance for the lower and upper catheter tip limit was 62% and 66.3% within a 4-cm range below or above the carina, respectively. Intensive care unit (ICU) physicians showed a greater tendency to choose a catheter tip 4 cm below and 6 cm above the carina (p = 0.004 and 0.002, respectively) as did experienced physicians (p = 0.007 and < 0.001, respectively). The commonest reason for catheter tip withdrawal was arrhythmia (50% of cases). Physicians in the ICU and experienced physicians were more concerned about the risk of cardiac perforation than other respondents (p < 0.001 and < 0.001, respectively). The carina was the most commonly used landmark in 71.7% of all physicians, although 50% of radiologists also used other landmarks. Conclusions: The acceptable limit of the catheter tip is 4 cm above and below the carina (-4 to +4), as determined on chest radiography, without a need for tip adjustment.


Central venous catheters, Catheter tip position, Carina, Superior vena cava, Chest X-ray, Cardiac tamponade

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Rakan M. AlQahtani. A Novel Objective Approach Towards Physicians' Knowledge and Practice Patterns to Optimize Central Venous Catheter Placement: A Cross-sectional Study. Signa Vitae. 2020. 16(2);124-133.


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