Ultrasound to Confirm Central Venous Catheter Placement

Dr. Daniel Eggeman

edited by Ilyas Taraki


In the intensive care units and emergency department, it is crucial to confirm central line placement to rule out procedural complications (pneumothorax, carotid injury, etc.) and to begin administration of life-saving medications (pressors to improve end organ perfusion). The faster this can occur, the better for the patient.

Recently, I was frustrated by my reliance on the portable x-ray for confirmation, because it was often gone from the ICU for prolonged periods of time.

Is there a way I can confirm central line placement at the bedside using ultrasound?


Saul T, Doctor M, Kaban NL, Avitabile NC, Siadecki SD, Lewiss RE. The Ultrasound-Only Central Venous Catheter Placement and Confirmation Procedure. J Ultrasound Med. 2015 Jul;34(7):1301-6. doi: 10.7863/ultra.34.7.1301. PMID:26112635

Study Design

Literature review of multiple studies.  This paper focused on developing point-of-care ultrasound protocol for 3 aspects of central venous catheter placement above the diaphragm: