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Inadvertent Puncture of the Thoracic Duct During Attempted Central Venous Catheter Placement


We report a case of puncture of the thoracic duct during left subclavian vein catheterization on the intensive care unit. Computed tomography and measurement of the triglyceride levels in the aspirated fluid proved the inadvertent penetration of the guidewire into the thoracic duct. Early recognition of central line misplacement avoided serious complications. Inadvertent central venous catheter placement into the thoracic duct may have the potential complications of infusion mediastinum and chylothorax.

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Correspondence to Ulf K.M. Teichgraber.

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Teichgraber, U., Nibbe, L., Gebauer, B. et al. Inadvertent Puncture of the Thoracic Duct During Attempted Central Venous Catheter Placement . CVIR 26, 569–571 (2003).

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  • Central venous catheterization
  • Thoracic duct
  • Chylothorax