During the past ten years we have performed certain phases of cardiac catheterization on 48 children using a modified percutaneous sheath technique to enter a superficial arm vein. Our patients ranged in age from 15 months to 21 years, with a mean age of 10.0 years. The indications for a superior approach most commonly have included electrophysiologic investigations, femoral vein occlusions, and proximal obstructions of the inferior vena cava. The advantages of a percutaneous sheath technique in the superficial brachial veins include the ease of changing catheters frequently during a case and the preservation of the vessel for possible repeat studies. It is not always possible to enter the heart with this technique, owing to sharp angulation of deep venous confluences in the axilla and occasional venous spasm. When successful, this mode of approach is attended by a very low prevalence of complications. There were no deaths, heart or vein perforations, or systemic infections. One patient developed a superficial phlebitis; this was mild and temporally limited. We have not encountered any case of clinically apparent venous thrombosis. When a superior approach for prograde heart catheterization in children is indicated, we have found that our modified percutaneous sheath technique is a simple, safe, and frequently successful alternative to a cutdown approach.
- cardiac catheterization
- congenital heart disease
- coronary sinus catheterization
- electrophysiology study
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine