Background: After insertion of a central venous catheter (CVC) a conventional chest X-ray (CXR) is usually taken to check for complications and correct position. Ultrasound might be equally effective as CXR and is less time consuming. We studied the use of ultrasound versus CXR after insertion of a CVC in general ward patients.
Methods: General ward patients in need of a CVC were included. CVCs were inserted under direct ultrasound guidance. After insertion, ultrasound was performed and compared with CXR to check for complications and position. The waiting time for CXR was noted.
Results: In total, 53 patients were included. In 52/53 patients ultrasound was feasible. The results of ultrasound and CXR only differed in 3 of 53 patients. The sensitivity of ultrasound in detecting the correct CVC position was 98% (89.4-100%). No complications were detected (ultrasound or CXR). The median waiting time for CXR was 24.5 minutes.
Conclusions: Our study shows that an integral use of ultrasound during and after CVC insertion is effective in establishing that the CVC is correctly positioned and for identifying post-procedural complications in patients from the general ward when compared with CXR.