Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Axillary vein


Central vein cannulation is one of the most commonly performed procedures in intensive care. Traditionally, the jugular and subclavian vein are recommended as the first choice option. Nevertheless, these attempts are not always obtainable for critically ill patients. For this reason, the axillary vein seems to be a rational alternative approach. In this narrative review, we evaluate the usefulness of the infraclavicular access to the axillary vein. The existing evidence suggests that infraclavicular approach to the axillary vein is a reliable method of central vein catheterization, especially when performed with ultrasound guidance.

Concepts: Critical thinking, Internal jugular vein, Veins of the torso, Axillary artery, Subclavian artery, Central venous catheter, Subclavian vein, Axillary vein


OBJECTIVE: The axillary vein is an easily accessible vessel that can be used for ultrasound-guided central vascular access and offers an alternative to the internal jugular and subclavian veins. The objective of this study was to identify which transducer orientation, longitudinal or transverse, is better for imaging the axillary vein with ultrasound. METHODS: Emergency medicine physicians at an inner-city academic medical center were asked to cannulate the axillary vein in a torso phantom model. They were randomized to start with either the longitudinal or transverse approach and completed both sequentially. Participants answered questionnaires before and after the cannulation attempts. Measurements were taken regarding time to completion, success, skin punctures, needle redirections, and complications. RESULTS: Fifty-seven operators with a median experience of 85 ultrasound procedures (interquartile range, 26-120) participated. The frequency of first-attempt success was 39 (0.69) of 57 for the longitudinal method and 21 (0.37) of 57 for the transverse method (difference, 0.32; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.12-0.51 [P = .001]); this difference was similar regardless of operator experience. The longitudinal method was associated with fewer redirections (difference, 1.8; 95% CI, 0.8-2.7 [P = .0002]) and skin punctures (difference, 0.3; 95% CI, -2 to +0.7 [P = .07]). Arterial puncture occurred in 2 of 57 longitudinal and 7 of 57 transverse attempts; no pleural punctures occurred. For successful attempts, the time spent was 24 seconds less for the longitudinal method (95% CI, 3-45 [P = .02]). CONCLUSIONS: The longitudinal method of visualizing the axillary vein during ultrasound-guided venous access is associated with greater first-attempt success, fewer needle redirections, and a trend of fewer arterial punctures compared with the transverse orientation.

Concepts: Subclavian artery, Blood vessel, Internal jugular vein, Artery, Axillary vein, Vein, Subclavian vein


Different methods for venous access are used for permanent pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), of which subclavian vein puncture technique is the most widely practised. Although this approach is relatively easy to learn, quick and offers high success rates, it may be associated with potential serious acute complications including pneumothorax, emopneumothorax, brachial plexus injury and longer-term complications such as lead fracture, loss of lead insulation and subclavian crush syndrome especially in young patients with ICD leads. Axillary vein approach seems to be a favourable technique not only for the prevention of acute complications but also to reduce lead failure including lead insulation and lead fracture prevention with a consequently better long-term lead survival compared with the classical subclavian approach. Although randomized studies are lacking, recent reports not only evaluated the safety and effectiveness of new fluoroscopic axillary venous puncture technique, but also compared it with the conventional intrathoracic subclavian venous puncture technique for the implantation of leads in permanent pacing. Various techniques of axillary vein puncture have been proposed ranging from a blind percutaneous puncture to the use of different tools such as contrast venography and ultrasound. In this article, we report a case of subclavian crush syndrome, the use of a modified Bellot’s technique of axillary vein puncture that we currently use and the potential benefits of axillary vein puncture for pacemaker and ICD leads implantation compared with subclavian approach to avoid acute and long-term lead complications.

Concepts: Subclavian artery, Magnetic resonance imaging, Subclavian vein, Axillary vein, Artificial pacemaker, Axillary artery, Brachial plexus, Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator


Pacemaker generators are routinely implanted in the anterior chest. However, where to place the generator may need to be considered from the mental, functional, and cosmetic standpoints.

Concepts: Alternating current, Axillary vein, Electricity, Alternator


The care and outcome of patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD) on chronic hemodialysis is directly dependent on their hemodialysis access. A brachiocephalic fistula (BCF) is commonly placed in the elderly and in patients with a failed lower-arm, or radiocephalic, fistula. However, there are numerous complications such that the BCF has an average patency of only 3.6 years. A leading cause of BCF dysfunction and failure is stenosis in the arch of the cephalic vein near its junction with the axillary vein, which is called cephalic arch stenosis (CAS). Using a combined clinical and computational investigation, we seek to improve our understanding of the cause of CAS, and to develop a means of predicting CAS risk in patients with a planned BCF access. This paper details the methodology used to determine the hemodynamic consequences of the post-fistula environment and illustrates detailed results for a representative sample of patient-specific anatomies, including a single, bifurcated, and trifurcated arch. It is found that the high flows present due to fistula creation lead to secondary flows in the arch owing to its curvature with corresponding low wall shear stresses. The abnormally low wall shear stress locations correlate with the development of stenosis in the singular case that is tracked in time for a period of one year.

Concepts: Force, Basilic vein, Dialysis, Artificial kidney, Chronic kidney disease, Axillary vein, Cephalic vein, Shear stress


A 29-year-old woman who worked as a KAATSU (a type of body exercise that involves blood flow restriction) instructor visited our emergency room with a chief complaint of swelling and left upper limb pain. Chest computed tomography (CT) showed non-uniform contrast images corresponding to the site from the left axillary vein to the left subclavian vein; vascular ultrasonography of the upper limb revealed a thrombotic obstruction at the same site, leading to a diagnosis of Paget-Schroetter syndrome (PSS). We herein report our experience with a case of PSS derived from thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS), in a patient who was a KAATSU instructor.

Concepts: Veins of the torso, First rib, Scalene muscles, Medical imaging, Axillary artery, Axillary vein, Subclavian artery, Subclavian vein


Ultrasound assessment of the inferior vena cava (IVC) has gained favour in aiding fluid management decisions for controlled, mechanically ventilated patients as well as in non-mechanically ventilated, spontaneously breathing patients. Its utility in spontaneously breathing patients during positive pressure non-invasive ventilation has not yet been determined. The use of the axillary vein, as an alternative option to the IVC due to its ease of accessibility and independence from intra-abdominal pressure, has also not been evaluated. The aim of this study was to assess respiratory variation in IVC and axillary vein diameters in spontaneously breathing participants (Collapsibility Index) and with the application of increasing positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) via positive pressure non-invasive ventilation (Distensibility Index).

Concepts: Axillary vein, Superior vena cava, Intensive care medicine, Pulmonology, Positive pressure ventilation, Evaluation, Assessment, Inferior vena cava


To identify a fluoroscopic bony landmark for safe percutaneous axillary artery cannulation.

Concepts: Axillary vein, Axillary artery, Landmark


The proximal cephalic vein that enters the axillary vein (cephalic arch) is a common site of stenosis in patients with upper extremity arteriovenous fistulas for hemodialysis (HD). In this study, we present the outcomes of a series of cephalic vein transposition, to determine its utility in the setting of refractory arch stenosis.

Concepts: Dorsal venous network of hand, Axillary artery, Upper limb, Veins of the upper limb, Basilic vein, Arteriovenous fistula, Axillary vein, Cephalic vein


We sought to describe the caliber and vascular health of the subclavian and axillary arteries as related to their potential utilization in complex cardiovascular procedures.

Concepts: Axillary vein, Subclavian artery, Axillary artery