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Concept: Subclavian vein

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BACKGROUND: Takayasu arteritis is a large vessel vasculitis occurring in young females. We report a rare presentation of Takayasu arteritis in a Sri Lankan woman. She presented with bronchiectasis and left recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy prior to the onset of vascular symptoms. This case illustrates an atypical presentation of this disease and the diagnostic dilemma that the physician may be faced with. CASE PRESENTATION: A 39-year-old woman presented with chronic cough, haemoptysis and hoarseness of voice. She had left recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy and high inflammatory markers on investigation. CT thorax revealed aortic wall thickening and traction bronchiectasis. 2 D echocardiogram revealed grade 1 aortic regurgitation compatible with aortitis. She did not have weak peripheral pulses or a blood pressure discrepancy and did not meet American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria for diagnosis of Takayasu arteritis at this stage. Tuberculosis, syphilis and sarcoidosis was excluded. While awaiting angiography, she developed left arm claudication and a pericardial effusion. Angiography revealed evidence of Takayasu arteritis and absence of flow in the left subclavian artery. Takayasu arteritis was diagnosed at this stage after a period of eight months from the onset of initial symptoms. She is currently on prednisolone, azathioprine and aspirin. CONCLUSION: Bronchiectasis and recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy is a rare presentation of Takayasu arteritis. Atypical presentations can occur in Takayasu arteritis prior to the onset of vascular symptoms. Elevation of inflammatory markers are an early finding. A high degree of suspicion is needed to identify these patients in the early course of the disease.

Concepts: Cardiology, Common carotid artery, Brachiocephalic artery, Subclavian vein, Vertebral artery, Subclavian artery

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The use of ultrasound (US) has been proposed to reduce the number of complications and to increase the safety and quality of central venous catheter (CVC) placement. In this review, we describe the rationale for the use of US during CVC placement, the basic principles of this technique, and the current evidence and existing guidelines for its use. In addition, we recommend a structured approach for US-guided central venous access for clinical practice. Static and real-time US can be used to visualize the anatomy and patency of the target vein in a short-axis and a long-axis view. US-guided needle advancement can be performed in an “out-of-plane” and an “in-plane” technique. There is clear evidence that US offers gains in safety and quality during CVC placement in the internal jugular vein. For the subclavian and femoral veins, US offers small gains in safety and quality. Based on the available evidence from clinical studies, several guidelines from medical societies strongly recommend the use of US for CVC placement in the internal jugular vein. Data from survey studies show that there is still a gap between the existing evidence and guidelines and the use of US in clinical practice. For clinical practice, we recommend a six-step systematic approach for US-guided central venous access that includes assessing the target vein (anatomy and vessel localization, vessel patency), using real-time US guidance for puncture of the vein, and confirming the correct needle, wire, and catheter position in the vein. To achieve the best skill level for CVC placement the knowledge from anatomic landmark techniques and the knowledge from US-guided CVC placement need to be combined and integrated.

Concepts: Internal jugular vein, Jugular vein, Central venous catheter, Subclavian vein, Catheter, Common facial vein, Catheters, Peripheral venous catheter

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A 36-year old woman presented with a 5-year history of progressive dysphagia. The barium swallow of the oesophagus revealed an oblique extrinsic defect consistent with an aberrant right subclavian artery. A computed tomography angiogram confirmed the diagnosis. Surgical correction is indicated for dysphagia lusoria in association with an aberrant right subclavian artery. The patient underwent surgical repair through the right supraclavicular approach, which provided a good exposure. We describe the use of this approach, which avoids the possible complications of thoracotomy or sternotomy in the surgical management of dysphagia lusoria.

Concepts: Medical imaging, Common carotid artery, Brachiocephalic artery, Subclavian vein, Vertebral artery, Subclavian artery, Aberrant subclavian artery

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

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Aberrant right subclavian artery (ARSA) is an uncommon congenital anomaly that often becomes aneurysmal. The ARSAs are often asymptomatic but aneurysms arising in this location are potentially lethal. Due to the high morbidity and mortality rates associated with the traditional open repair methods, less invasive endovascular methods are becoming more popular. This is a case describing a unique hybrid repair of an aneurysmal ARSA in an asymptomatic male.

Concepts: Common carotid artery, Brachiocephalic artery, Subclavian vein, Vertebral artery, Subclavian artery, Aberrant subclavian artery

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Snake bites are leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, especially in rural areas. Therapeutic plasma exchange has been used in the treatment of many different conditions such as immunologic diseases, toxicologic disorders, and snake envenomation. The aim of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of plasma exchange treatment on clinical status, outcomes, and discharge of patients who were bitten by venomous snakes. The study was conducted retrospectively in the Emergency Department of Gaziantep University from January 2002 to December 2011. Thirty-seven patients were included in the present study. Routine biochemical and hematologic laboratory parameters were studied before and after plasma exchange. Demographic data, clinical status, and outcomes of patients were recorded. Plasma exchange was performed by using centrifugation technology via an intravenous antecubital or subclavian vein catheter access. Human albumin/fresh frozen plasma was used as replacement fluids. A significant correlation was seen between therapeutic plasma exchange and improvement of laboratory results. None of the study patients lost their limbs. Eight patients were sent to the intensive care unit. The mean length of the hospital stay was 12.2days (4-28). All patients were discharged with good recovery. No complications were seen during the 3months following discharge. Plasma exchange appears to be an effective treatment intervention for snake bite envenomations, especially in the management of hematologic problems and in limb preservation/salvage strategies. In addition to traditional treatment methods, plasma exchange should be considered by emergency physicians in cases of snake bite envenomation as a therapeutic approach to facilitate rapid improvement.

Concepts: Medicine, Hospital, Central venous catheter, Subclavian vein, Snakebite, Viperidae, Snake, Bite

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

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Both hybrid and chimney techniques are used for reconstruction of supra-arch branches during thoracic endovascular aorta repair (TEVAR). Our objective was to summarize our experience with reconstruction of the left common carotid artery (LCCA) or left subclavian artery (LSA) and evaluate the indications for these 2 strategies.

Concepts: Common carotid artery, Internal jugular vein, Brachiocephalic artery, Arteries of the thorax, Subclavian vein, Arteries of the head and neck, Subclavian artery, Aortic arch

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Although ultrasound guidance for subclavian vein catheterization has been well described, evidence for its use has not been comprehensively appraised. Thus, we conducted a systematic review and metaanalysis to determine whether ultrasound guidance of subclavian vein catheterization reduces catheterization failures and adverse events compared to the traditional “blind” landmark method. All forms of ultrasound were included (dynamic 2D ultrasound, static 2D ultrasound, and Doppler).

Concepts: Evidence-based medicine, Systematic review, Central venous catheter, Meta-analysis, Subclavian vein, Subclavian artery

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It is widely believed that most stroke recovery occurs within 6 months, with little benefit of physiotherapy or other modalities beyond a year. We report a remarkable case of stroke recovery beginning 23 years after a severe stroke due to embolization from the innominate artery and subclavian artery, resulting from compression of the right subclavian artery by a cervical rib. The patient had a large right fronto-parietal infarction with severe left hemiparesis, and a totally non-functional spastic left hand. He experienced some recovery of hand function that began 23 years after the stroke, a year after he took up regular swimming. As a result, intensive physiotherapy was initiated, with repetetive large muscle movement and a spring-loaded mechanical orthosis that provides resistance to finger flexors and supports finger extensors. Within two years he could pick up coins with the previously useless left hand. Functional MRI studies document widespread distribution of the recovery in both hemispheres. This case provides impetus not only to more intensive and prolonged physiotherapy, but also to treatment with emerging modalities such as stem cell therapy, exosome and micro-RNA therapies.

Concepts: Stroke, Common carotid artery, Brachiocephalic artery, Subclavian vein, Cervical vertebrae, Vertebral artery, Subclavian artery, Aberrant subclavian artery