The anterior to midaxillary line between the 4th or 5th intercostal space (Buelau position) is safe for the use of thoracostomy tubes in preterm and term infants

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Abstract

Objectives:

Thoracostomy tubes are widely used in neonatology. Complications occurred significantly more frequently in infants, especially neonates, than in adults. Principally, the access is the modified Buelau position which takes place in the anterior axillary line at the 4th or 5th intercostal space above the margin of the ribs.

Aim:

This study seeks to determine the characteristics and topographic conditions of the anatomical structures at the ventral and lateral thoracic wall in the preterm and term neonate.

Background:

Fifteen formalin-fixed stillborns were prepared (nine male, six female, 28–43 weeks gestational age).

Methods/Materials:

The anatomical preparation involved the complete thoracic wall region.

Results:

In all preparations, a venous vessel was detected at the lateral wall and was identified as v. thoracoepigastrica without accompanying artery. Arteria (a.) and vena (v.) thoracica interna were regularly found close to the sternal plate on both sides between rib and fascia. With increasing gestational ages the course of the v. thoracoepigastrica varied significantly between the left and right thoracic wall. It was demonstrated that the v. thoracoepigastrica regularly arose within the abdominal or thoracic subcutaneous fat and drained into the v. subclavia. The variance between its course was almost 5–12 mm to the lateral or medial side. At both thoracic sides, no other organs or organ structures except lung parenchyma could be detected when using the Buelau position.

Conclusions:

The anterior to midaxillary line between the 4th or 5th intercostal space (Buelau position) is safe for the use of thoracostomy tubes in preterm and term infants.

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