Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Patient Safety in Surgery


Volume 9

Inclusive Pages

Article number 9


We present a case of needle separation during central venous catheter (CVC) placement in a super morbidly obese patient with subsequent surgical intervention in its retrieval. This complication, potentially lethal due to the relevant anatomy of such a procedure, alerts critical care physicians and surgeons to the possibility of equipment failure and stresses proper technique in what has become a routine procedure. It also emphasizes the routine use of ultrasound-guidance for cannulation in patients of any body habitus. While infection and arrhythmia are the generally known complications of CVC placement, clinicians must be alert to unanticipated events such as needle separation. In our case, the retrieval of this needle required multi-disciplinary intervention between radiology, critical care, vascular surgery, and thoracic surgery. Our event stresses hypervigilance to complications in a common procedure.


Reproduced with permission of BioMed Central. Patient Safety in Surgery.

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