Sci Rep. 2022 Feb 17;12(1):2745. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-06287-4.
Placement of central venous catheters (CVC) into the internal jugular vein represents a routine clinical intervention. The periprocedural complication rate ranges from 5 to 20% and can be reduced by ultrasound guidance, training of residents and other measures. We aimed to proof that the average Seldinger needle is too long, increasing the risk of periprocedural injury, best epitomized in the stellate ganglion injury/irritation. The first part of the study was an online market analysis to investigate the standard needle length currently offered as part of the CVC placement sets. The second part of the study involved 35 hospitalized patients (14 female; median age 74.5 years). In those the distance between the skin and the internal jugular vein as well as the diameter of the internal jugular vein was measured by ultrasound in both, supine position as well as 45° semi-sitting position. In the third part of the study 80 body donors (45 female; median age 83.0 years) preserved by the ethanol/formaldehyde method were studied. In those the distance and angle between the typical landmark for insertion of the Seldinger needle for internal jugular vein catheter placement to the stellate ganglion was measured. The median [interquartile range] Seldinger needle length was 7 [4.0-10.0] cm. In the examined patients the maximum distance between the skin and the internal jugular vein was 1.87 cm. The minimum distance was 0.46 cm and the median distance averaging supine and 45° position was 1.14 [0.94-1.31] cm. Regarding the body donors the median distance from the insertion point of the internal jugular vein to the stellate ganglion was longer in men 5.5 [4.95-6.35] cm than in women 5.2 [4.7-5.9] (p = 0.031 unpaired t-test). With 7 cm average length the Seldinger needle currently sold as part of CVC sets is long enough to physically reach the stellate ganglion, not to mention more proximal structures. A shorter needle length would be sufficient to reach the internal jugular vein even in obese patients and with a small insertion angle while minimizing the possibility to cause severe injury as structures like the pleura and the stellate ganglion could not be reached by shorter needles.