Supraclavicular Approach to the Subclavian Vein as an Alternative Venous Access Site for ECMO Cannulae? A Retrospective Comparison

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Venous reperfusion and double-lumen cannulae for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) are usually inserted via the right internal jugular vein. The supraclavicular approach to the right or left subclavian vein could serve as a possible alternative. The aim of this analysis was to compare feasibility, complications, and performance of supraclavicular and jugular cannulation. We retrospectively analyzed charts and registry data of patients undergoing venovenous ECMO. Twenty-four patients underwent jugular cannulation, and 11 patients underwent supraclavicular cannulation. Ten patients underwent femoro-jugular, and five patients underwent femoro-supraclavicular ECMO. Double-lumen cannulae were inserted via the jugular approach in 14 patients and via the supraclavicular approach in 6 patients. No cannulation-associated complications but for a single minor bleeding from the insertion site of a supraclavicular double-lumen cannula were recorded. Performance of the extracorporeal circuit was comparable between jugular and supraclavicular groups but for a more pronounced oxygenation effect in the supraclavicular double-lumen group caused by higher blood flows via larger (24 F) cannulae. The supraclavicular approach seems safe and equivalent to jugular cannulation and could serve as a valid alternative.

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