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To find out whether internal jugular vein cannulation with a soft silastic hemodialysis access catheter causes jugular vein thrombosis, the authors carried out Doppler ultrasound examinations on 96 patients receiving hemodialysis who had undergone 144 separate catheter insertion episodes in 116 veins. Two internal jugular vein thromboses were found in 101 veins that had been the site of percutaneous insertions only. In addition, 5 internal jugular vein thromboses were identified in 15 veins that had been cannulated surgically with the Quinton PermCath. The authors conclude that percutaneous internal jugular vein cannulation for hemodialysis access causes an acceptably low incidence of jugular vein damage. This strengthens the case for preferential use of the internal jugular vein for vascular access in patients with end-stage renal failure, and suggests that percutaneous cannulation is less damaging than surgical insertion.ASAIO Journal1995; 41:169-172.