Author(s): Takasaki Y, Arai T
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Abstract An 85-yr-old woman with advanced sigmoid colon cancer developed right phrenic nerve palsy following central venous catheterization for preoperative nutritional and fluid balance improvement. The central venous catheter was successfully placed via the left subclavian vein at the first attempt. Blood returned freely through the catheter. The chest x-ray film taken immediately after the catheterization showed the proper placement of the catheter, but it revealed a significant right hemidiaphragmatic elevation indicating phrenic nerve palsy. A chest computed tomography scan and bronchoscopy were normal. As the patient did not complain of dyspnoea and vital signs were normal, tumour resection was performed. The operative and postoperative course was uneventful. The chest x-ray film after the surgery still showed the elevation of the right hemidiaphragm. It resolved completely within 3 days of withdrawing the central venous catheter by 3 cm on the fourth postoperative day. We concluded the likely cause of the phrenic nerve palsy was that the catheter tip impinged upon the thin venous wall and compressed the phrenic nerve running alongside the superior vena cava.
This article was published in Br J Anaesth
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Cardiology