Insertion of Hickman catheters. A comparison of cutdown and percutaneous techniques

S. J. Davis, J. S. Thompson, J. A. Edney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


The insertion of Hickman catheters is useful in providing long-term vascular access in patients with a variety of conditions. Recently, enthusiasm has developed for the percutaneous insertion of the catheter because of the speed and ease of insertion. The insertion of 82 Hickman catheters in adults was reviewed. Thirty (94%) of 32 patients had a catheter placed successfully using a cutdown technique with success in 75 per cent of patients with the initial cutdown. Catheter placement was successful in 48 (96%) of the 50 patients with the percutaneous technique. The average operating time was 77 min for the cutdown technique compared with 33 min with percutaneous insertion. The overall complication rate was 18 per cent using the cutdown technique and 16 per cent for the percutaneous technique. The percutaneous technique for inserting Hickman catheters results in a much shorter operating time with minimal morbidity. As with any subclavian puncture, however, there is the risk of significant complications. The cutdown technique should be considered in patients with coagulopathy and when difficulty performing a percutaneous insertion is anticipated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-676
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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