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Placement of jugular venous catheters

Mark P Androes, MD
Alan C Heffner, MD
Section Editors
Allan B Wolfson, MD
John F Eidt, MD
Joseph L Mills, Sr, MD
Deputy Editor
Kathryn A Collins, MD, PhD, FACS


Central catheters provide dependable intravenous access and enable hemodynamic monitoring and blood sampling [1-3]. The jugular veins are one of the most popular sites for central venous access due to accessibility and overall low complication rates, and are the preferred site for temporary hemodialysis.

Jugular venous cannulation and catheter placement will be reviewed here. General considerations for venous access and issues related to other access sites are discussed elsewhere. (See "Overview of central venous access" and "Complications of central venous catheters and their prevention" and "Placement of femoral venous catheters" and "Placement of subclavian venous catheters".)


The jugular veins (internal, external) are reliable access sites for temporary and permanent (table 1) (eg, tunneled central catheters and subcutaneous ports) venous cannulation to support hemodynamic monitoring, fluid and medication administration, and parenteral nutrition. Jugular venous access can also be used for the placement of inferior vena cava filters and other venous devices. (See "Placement of vena cava filters and their complications".)

Internal jugular venous access (especially right-sided) is associated with a low rate of catheter malposition [4], and is commonly used in situations that require reliable tip positioning for immediate use, such as drug administration or transvenous pacing. Similarly, the direct route from the right internal jugular vein to the superior vena cava facilitates hemodialysis access and pulmonary artery catheter placement. (See "Central catheters for acute and chronic hemodialysis access" and "Pulmonary artery catheters: Insertion technique in adults".)

Contraindications — Relative contraindications to jugular venous catheterization, in general, include coagulopathy, prior access, the presence of another device at the site, and altered local anatomy. (See "Overview of central venous access", section on 'Contraindications'.)


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Feb 10, 2015.
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