Fifteen studies with a total of 3,817 patients were included in the review. A retrospective study performed by the author was also reported but was not discussed in this abstract.
Complications occurred in between 10% and 59.9% of procedures (mean 26.5%).
The most frequent complications were: failure to secure venous access (mean 15%, range: 6 to 40), failure to place the lead correctly (mean 10%, range: 5 to 25), sepsis (mean 9%, range: 2 to 18), puncture of arteries (mean 4%, range: 0 to 6), lung or myocardium puncture (mean 2%, range: 0 to 4) and life-threatening arrythmias (mean 1%, range: 0 to 2).
There was no relationship between study date and reported complication rate. From the graph it appears that there is a trend toward a positive relationship between age and complication rate, although no formal statistical analyses were presented.
Two studies were of both generalist and specialist clinical practitioners, nine were of generalists only, and three were of specialists only. From the graph it appears that complications were lower for specialists than generalists, although no statistical analysis was presented. One study reported 9 complications from 30 procedures (30%) for generalists, compared with 20 complications from 87 procedures (23%) for specialists.
The complication rates in the largest study were highest for antecubital fossa lines (17.2%) compared with those for right internal jugular routes (8.1%).