Jugular venous catheters

Last revised by Dr Jeremy Jones on 13 Oct 2021

The internal jugular vein is a preferred site for venous access for large lumen, long-term central venous catheters for chemotherapy, hemofiltration and plasma exchange. These are commonly referred to as (internal) jugular venous (IJV) catheters.

Typically, the right internal jugular is used as its vertical course straight down into the superior vena cava via the right brachiocephalic vein makes access easiest.

The vein is usually punctured using ultrasound guidance and catheter tip location confirmed using fluoroscopy, or often just a chest radiograph. A variety of catheters can be used with a variable number of lumens, and with or without a subcutaneously tunneled portion.

The internal jugular vein is also the commonest portal of entry for the insertion of a pulmonary artery catheter (Swan-Ganz catheter).

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Cases and figures

  • Case 2: right internal jugular vein cannulation
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  • Case 3: dialysis catheter in right jugular vein
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