[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
January 16, 1978

Bilateral Hydrothorax From Unilateral Subclavian Vein Catheterization

JAMA. 1978;239(3):190-191. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280300022004

To the Editor.—  Subclavian veins are being used with increasing frequency for fluid administration, hyperalimentation, and central venous pressure monitoring. Several complications of this procedure have been described by various authors1-3 and include pneumothorax with or without subcutaneous emphysema and hemothorax, air embolism, catheter embolization, infection, subclavian artery puncture, myocardial perforation, thrombophlebitis and thrombosis, subcutaneous hematoma, brachial plexus palsy, innominate vein perforation, thoracic duct laceration, phrenic nerve paralysis, arteriovenous fistula, and interstitial pulmonary edema with chest wall abscess formation. The occurrence of hydrothorax has been reported to occur ipsilaterally unless the catheter perforates through mediastinum, causing bilateral pleural effusions and mediastinal emphysema. We report a case of bilateral pleural effusion occurring after right-sided subclavian vein catheterization without the displacement of the catheter to the opposite side.

Report of a Case.—  A 33-year-old woman with a history of heroin addiction and seizure disorder was hospitalized because of acute gastritis. Results