Lower Double-Wall Puncture Rate During Ultrasound-Guided Internal Jugular Vein Cannulation Using Sharper, Narrower-Gauge, and/or Length-Optimized Needles: A 6-Year Quality Improvement Clinical Series in Adult Patients

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Ochsner Journal


Background; During internal jugular vein (IJV) cannulation, needle tip injury to vulnerable subjacent cervical anatomic structures can be prevented if the cannulating needle tip is not permitted, even momentarily, to penetrate the deep portion of the IJV wall, an event known as double-wall puncture (DWP), also called posterior wall puncture. Methods; We conducted a 6-year ultrasound-guided IJV cannulation quality improvement project, seeking to minimize the occur-rence of DWP in 228 adult patients using needles of different gauge and tip sharpness. Most needles were length-optimized to the distance between the skin puncture site and the IJV mid-lumen for a selected angle of needle insertion by (1) using a nylon screw-on needle stop or (2) using a cannulating needle that already had the desired shaft length. Results; Standard central venous cannulation kit needles were long enough to reach or traverse the deepest portion of the IJV wall in nearly all patients. Use of extra-sharp, smaller-diameter needles in place of standard needles was associated with a 26.3% relative reduction in DWP rate. Use of needles length-optimized to reach only the IJV mid-lumen was associated with a 78.4% relative reduction in DWP rate. A 0% DWP rate was attained using length-optimized 21-gauge extra-sharp needles and length-optimized 20-gauge needles of intermediate sharpness. Conclusion; The 9.2% DWP rate achieved during this project was approximately half the rate reported at the time of project incep-tion. Use of length-optimized, sharper, narrower-gauge cannulating needles may help avoid DWP during ultrasound-guided IJV cannulation.

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