A central line placement is an invasive technical skill that is frequently performed in the hospital. Central lines may be placed in the neck, shoulder or groin area for lack of peripheral access, monitoring or introduction of multiple fluids.
Historically, resident physicians are trained by the “See one, Do one, Teach one” method. This means a resident typically watches one being performed by either an attending physician or a senior resident before doing one him or herself. Using this traditional method, trainees learn procedures vicariously through observation of their peers. If their peers have not been properly trained, mistakes are handed down from generation to generation of resident trainees. In addition, the use of ultrasound to place central lines could potentially minimize these risks.
If not done correctly, complications associated with central lines include pneumothorax (punctured lung), bleeding, hematoma, arterial puncture and infection. One study notes central venous catheter infections in the U.S. are associated with increased hospital length of stay and excess health care costs, ranging up to $56,000 per infection episode.