Hydromediastinum and hydrothorax in the neonate with central vein catheterization

S. Eldar, J. Abrahamson, A. Colin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


A near fatal complication of central venous catheterization in a newborn infant is reported. Five days after insertion, the catheter tip eroded through the wall of the vein, causing hydromediastinum and hydrothorax with acute circulatory and respiratory distress. The diagnosis was confirmed by noting that the tip of the catheter had become curved downwards, by aspirating slightly blood-stained fluid from the pleural space and by injecting radio-opaque dye through the catheter. Recovery followed removal of the catheter, intercostal drainage, intubation and positive pressure respiration. The erosion of the vein may have been brought about by the location of the catheter tip at the junction of the left subclavian and innominate veins - a less than optimal position. The factors causing this complication are discussed. Recommendations are made about the type of catheter, its appropriate placement and maintenance. The diagnosis and management are surveyed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-352
Number of pages4
JournalIsrael journal of medical sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering


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