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Case Reports in Emergency Medicine
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 382624, 2 pages
Case Report

A Case of Unrecognized Intrathoracic Placement of a Subclavian Central Venous Catheter in a Patient with Large Traumatic Hemothorax

1UT Austin Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellowship, Dell Children’s Medical Center, 4900 Mueller Boulevard, Austin, TX 78723, USA
2Department of Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, 96 Jonathan Lucas Street, Charleston, SC 29425, USA
3Division of General Surgery, San Francisco General Hospital, Campus Box 0807, San Francisco, CA 94143-0807, USA
4Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care Medicine, San Francisco General Hospital, 1001 Potrero Avenue, SFGH 5, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA

Received 20 June 2015; Revised 29 July 2015; Accepted 3 August 2015

Academic Editor: Ching H. Loh

Copyright © 2015 Dina Wallin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Traditional recommendations suggest placement of a subclavian central venous catheter (CVC) ipsilateral to a known pneumothorax to minimize risk of bilateral pneumothorax. We present the case of a 65-year-old male with a right hemopneumothorax who was found to have intrathoracic placement of his right subclavian CVC at thoracotomy despite successful aspiration of blood and transduction of central venous pressure (CVP). We thus recommend extreme caution with the interpretation of CVC placement by blood aspiration and CVP measurement alone in patients with large volume ipsilateral hemothorax.