Central lines are often necessary and performed quite frequently. With frequent procedures sometimes we get comfortable performing them and we minimize possible dangers. This case demonstrates, however, that there are real complications that can occur from our invasive procedures. Thus it is important to weigh the risks and benefits.
This central line decided to go through the caudal portion of the brachiocephalic vein and into the mediastinum. The first xray shows the end of the catheter kinked near the aortic root. CT of the chest shows the distal tip of the catheter puncturing through the vein and into the mediastinum. Obviously this is a very rare complication!
Image Contributor: Aaron Hougham, MD
Author: Russell Jones, MD