A number of complications may occur during an attempted placement of a central venous line.


Sites of insertion:

(1) subclavian vein

(2) internal jugular vein

(3) femoral vein


Risk factors for complications:

(1) inexperienced operator

(2) multiple attempts

(3) emergency insertion

(4) hyper- or hypocoagulability in the patient

(5) congenital anomaly in blood vessels

(6) post-operative or post-traumatic injury to the region

(7) uncooperative patient, including seizure disorder

(8) caustic or toxic infusate

(9) improper site preparation

(10) improper care of the insertion site

(11) prolonged placement (in which case a Hickman or other catheter is warranted)

(12) selection of an inappropriate catheter

(13) active infection at or near the insertion site



(1) traumatic damage to adjacent nerves and soft tissue

(2) infusion of fluids into soft tissue

(3) puncture of an adjacent artery with hemorrhage (internal jugular vein and carotid artery; subclavian vein and artery; femoral artery and vein)

(4) pneumothorax and/or hemothorax

(5) cardiac injury including perforation of the right ventricle with hemopericardium

(6) phlebitis with thrombosis

(7) infection (highest in femoral lines)


To read more or access our algorithms and calculators, please log in or register.