The optimal length of insertion of central venous catheters for pediatric patients

Dean B. Andropoulos, Sabrina T. Bent, Barbara Skjonsby, Stephen A. Stayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


Incorrect positioning of central venous catheters (CVC) in infants and children may lead to serious complications such as perforation of the heart or great vessels. CVC position is not usually assessed until the first postoperative chest radiograph, potentially leaving malposition undetected for several hours. We studied a series of 452 right internal jugular and subclavian catheter placements in infants and children undergoing surgery for congenital heart disease, and measured the distance from the skin insertion site to the radiographic junction of the superior vena cava and right atrium (RA). Based on these data, the following formulae predict that a CVC will be positioned above the RA 97% of the time: correct length of insertion (cm) = (height in cm/10) - 1 for patients ≤100 cm in height, and (height in cm/10) - 2 for patients >100 cm in height. Weight-based recommendations were also developed which predict placement of CVC above the RA 98% of the time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)883-886
Number of pages4
JournalAnesthesia and analgesia
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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