Bedside ultrasonic detection of massive hemothorax due to superior vena cava perforation after hemodialysis catheter insertion.Acta Anaesthesiol Taiwan 2009; 47(2):95-8AA
Hemothorax resulting from perforation of a great vessel is an uncommon but life-threatening complication which may occur during central venous insertion of a hemodialysis catheter. We describe a 78-year-old uremic female who developed unexplained and refractory shock on the completion of percutaneous placement of a hemodialysis catheter in the right subclavian vein under general anesthesia. Bedside transthoracic ultrasound revealed a large anechoic area above the right hemidiaphragm, suggestive of the presence of extensive hemothorax. The diagnosis was further confirmed by prompt drainage of fresh blood from the right thoracostomy tube. Emergent thoracotomy was performed and perforation of the superior vena cava was identified. Hemodynamic stability was restored after surgical repair of the injured vessel, aggressive volume resuscitation and inotropic/vasopressor treatment. This case suggests that portable ultrasonography is an invaluable bedside tool which allows anesthesiologists to made reliable and prompt diagnosis of potentially fatal complications, such as perforation of great central vein due to inadvertent cannulation.