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Open Access Research article

The influence of the direction of J-tip on the placement of a subclavian catheter: real time ultrasound-guided cannulation versus landmark method, a randomized controlled trial

Ah-Young Oh12, Young-Tae Jeon12*, Eun-Joo Choi1, Jung-Hee Ryu12, Jung-Won Hwang12, Hee-Pyoung Park23 and Sang-Hwan Do12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Korea

2 Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

3 Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea

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BMC Anesthesiology 2014, 14:11  doi:10.1186/1471-2253-14-11

Published: 28 February 2014



It has been reported that the direction of the guidewire J-tip is associated with misplacement of a central venous catheter. We hypothesized that real-time ultrasound-guided infraclavicular subclavian venous cannulation would be less influenced by the direction of guidewire J-tip compared to landmark method.


Sixty adult patients who required subclavian venous catheterization for neurosurgery were enrolled in this prospective randomized controlled study. Patients were randomly divided into a landmark group (n = 30) or an ultrasound group (n = 30). After the subclavian vein was punctured, the guidewire was advanced with the guidewire J-tip directed cephalad. Misplacement or advancement failure of the guidewire was regarded as an unsuccessful placement. Postoperative chest radiography was performed to confirm pneumothorax and the location of the catheter tip.


The two groups were comparable with respect to age, gender, height, and weight distribution. The incidence of unsuccessful guidewire placement was lower in the ultrasound group than in the landmark group (13% vs. 47%, P = 0.01). Among the unsuccessful guidewire placements, the incidence of misplacement were comparable between the groups and were all located in the ipsilateral internal jugular vein (7% vs. 7%). However, the incidence of advancement failure was significantly higher in landmark group (40% vs. 7%, P = 0.005). There were no complications such as pneumothorax or hemothorax.


The proper placement of guidewire was less influenced by the direction of the guidewire J-tip with ultrasound-guided subclavian venous cannulation than with the landmark approach.

Central venous catheterization; Subclavian vein; Ultrasound