Is Routine Chest X-Ray After Ultrasound-Guided Central Venous Catheter Insertion Choosing Wisely?: A Population-Based Retrospective Study of 6,875 Patients.

Chest. 2018 Mar 6. pii: S0012-3692(18)30341-6. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2018.02.017. [Epub ahead of print]

Chui J, Saeed R, Jakobowski L, Wang W, Eldeyasty B, Zhu F, Fochesato L, Lavi R, Bainbridge D.

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A routine chest radiograph (CXR) is recommended as a screening test after central venous catheter (CVC) insertion. The goal of this study was to assess the value of a routine postprocedural CXR in the era of ultrasound-guided CVC insertion.


This population-based retrospective cohort study was performed to review the records of all adult patients who had a CVC inserted in the operating room in a tertiary institution between July 1, 2008, and December 31, 2015. We determined the incidence of pneumothorax and catheter misplacement after ultrasound-guided CVC insertion. A logistic regression analysis was performed to examine the potential risk factors associated with these complications, and a cost analysis was conducted to evaluate the economic impact.


Of 18,274 patients who had a CVC inserted, 6,875 patients were included. The overall incidence of pneumothorax and catheter misplacement was 0.33% (95% CI, 0.22-0.5) (23 patients) and 1.91% (95% CI, 1.61-2.26) (131 patients), respectively. The site of catheterization was the major determinant of pneumothorax and catheter misplacement; left subclavian vein catheterization was the site at a higher risk for pneumothorax (OR, 6.69 [95% CI, 2.45-18.28]; P < .001), and catheterization sites other than the right internal jugular vein were at a higher risk for catheter misplacement. Expenditures on routine postprocedural CXR were US $105,000 to $183,000 per year at our institution.


This study found that pneumothorax and catheter misplacement after ultrasound-guided CVC insertion were rare, and the costs of a postprocedural CXR were exceedingly high. We concluded that a routine postprocedural CXR is unnecessary and not a wise choice in our setting.

Copyright © 2018 American College of Chest Physicians. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


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