Ventricular tachycardia cardiac arrest during central line placement

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Central venous catheterization is often necessary for the safe administration of medications that are caustic to peripheral veins, to place temporary transvenous pacemakers and to provide invasive hemodynamic monitoring in the critically ill. While a wide range of complications are known to occur with insertion of these catheters, there is a paucity of cases associated with cardiac arrest during the catheters placement. We describe an unusual case of sustained ventricular tachycardia and subsequent cardiac arrest that occurred during an ultrasound guided central venous catheter placement for a patient in septic shock. This case serves as a reminder of the rare, but potentially fatal complication of central venous access placement.

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