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Breast abscess following central venous catheterization

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We describe a case of late perforation of the right internal mammary vein by a central venous catheter inserted via the left subclavian vein. This resulted in extravasation of parenteral nutritional fluid and breast abscess formation. Delay in reaching the diagnosis was experienced in this case and in two cases previously reported. The clinical presentation was similar in all three cases with good early function of the catheters followed by symptoms of chest pain and signs of inflammation in the breast contralateral to the site of insertion of the central venous catheter. Confirmation of correct placement of the central venous catheter must be sought in any patient who develops these symptoms or signs so that the delay in diagnosis we experienced can be avoided. This may be obtained by a lateral or oblique chest radiograph or by contrast studies if preferable.

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Clark, K.R., Higgs, M.J. Breast abscess following central venous catheterization. Intensive Care Med 17, 123–124 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01691437

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Key words

  • Catheterization
  • Central venous
  • Complication
  • Infection