OBJECTIVES The transthoracic intracardiac line placed in the right atrium provides a convenient access to the central venous system following cardiac surgery. However, it is associated with risks such as migration and bleeding. We conducted a retrospective study to determine whether position of transthoracic line with respect to site of exit from the chest makes a difference in the rate of complications. METHODS All infants receiving a transthoracic intracardiac line in the right atrium following cardiac surgery between June 2012 and December 2015 were part of the study. A 3.5-Fr double-lumen umbilical venous catheter was placed directly into the right atrium. The lines exited the thorax either above in the suprasternal notch (upper transthoracic line) or below the diaphragm across the abdominal wall (lower transthoracic line). Patients were analysed for complications such as catheter migration, bleeding upon removal, atrial thrombus, line occlusion, premature removal and failed removal. RESULTS A total of 131 patients received a transthoracic intracardiac line during the study period. Of the total patients, 88 patients received the upper transthoracic line and 43 patients received the lower transthoracic line. The upper transthoracic line was associated with significantly lower incidence of catheter migration (1% vs 14%) and this held by multivariable logistic regression, adjusting for age and duration of the line (P = 0.003). There was no difference in the rate of other complications including bleeding. CONCLUSIONS The upper transthoracic line is associated with significantly lower incidence of catheter migration and offers a more optimum position for central access following cardiac surgery.
- Postoperative care