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Should ultrasound guidance be used for central venous catheterisation in the emergency department?
  1. P Atkinson,
  2. A Boyle,
  3. S Robinson,
  4. G Campbell-Hewson
  1. Emergency Department, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Paul Atkinson MRCP(UK) FFAEM
 Emergency Department, Box 87, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge CB2 2QQ, UK;


In September 2002, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) issued guidelines for England and Wales suggesting that ultrasound guidance should be used for all electives, and should be considered for most emergency, central venous catheterisations.1 These guidelines propose a major change of practice for most clinicians practising in UK Emergency Departments. There are also resource and training implications. In this paper we systematically review the literature to establish what evidence exists for the routine use of ultrasound guidance in the placement of central venous catheters in adult patients attending the Emergency Department, and provide an overview of the practical elements of this procedure.

  • CVC, central venous catherisation
  • ED, emergency department
  • FV, femoral veins
  • IJ, internal jugular veins
  • RCT, randomised controlled trial
  • RD, risk difference
  • RR, relative risk
  • SC, subclavian veins
  • ultrasound
  • central venous catheterisation
  • emergency procedures

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  • Competing interests: none declared

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