Cardiac catheterization through the internal jugular vein in pediatric patients; An alternative to the usual femoral vein access

P. Guccione, M. G. Gagliardi, M. Bevilacqua, F. Parisi, B. Marino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The percutaneous femoral vein approach is used routinely for cardiac catheterization in the pediatric age but in some children, it may be impossible as in the case of iliac vein or inferior vena cava thrombosis due to previous cardiac catheterization, or inconvenient as for right ventricular endomyocardial biopsies. In the period between 1982 and 1990, 160 cardiac catheterizations or right ventricular endomyocardial biopsies were performed in 102 children. Patients ranged in age between 2 months and 17 years (mean, 3.8 years) and in weight from 3.2 to 57.3 kg (mean, 14.4 kg). Indications for the internal jugular vein approach were as follows: (1) thrombosis of the inferior vena cava due to previous cardiac catheterization in 42 patients (41 percent); (2) right ventricular endomyocardial biopsy after cardiac transplant in 19 patients (19 percent); (3) control catheterization of the pulmonary arteries following classic or bidirectional cavopulmonary anastomosis in 16 patients (16 percent); (4) superior vena cava obstruction following Mustard's procedure in 14 patients (14 percent); (5) failed percutaneous femoral venous approach in six patients (6 percent); and (6) absence of the hepatic segment of the inferior vena cava in four patients (4 percent). The right or left internal jugular vein could be entered in all but three procedures (98 percent). Seventeen patients had more than one procedure through the same internal jugular vein and the vein was found patent in all. A complete right heart cardiac catheterization was performed using this route. Right ventricular endomyocardial biopsy and interventional procedure were performed through this route. Two major complications occurred. A patient developed a central transient ischemic attack and another patient developed a persistent Horner syndrome. Accidental carotid puncture occurred in five patients without consequences. Our data indicate that cardiac catheterization in infants and children can be performed safely through the internal jugular vein, with a high success rate and a low incidence of major complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1512-1514
Number of pages3
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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