• The subclavian vein approach is frequently used in the placement of catheters into the great intrathoracic veins. Central venous catheters are associated with complications that may be related to the insertion of the catheter or the location of its tip. A retrospective review of 500 subclavian vein catheterizations was undertaken to determine initial catheter tip position and identify complications associated with the initial placement of the catheter. Catheters were properly positioned in 68% of successful placements. The incidence of complications associated with initial catheter placement was 1.6%. The postplacement chest roentgenogram identified clinically useful information in approximately 33% of the cases.
(Arch Surg 1984;119:293-295)