Differentiating arteries from veins

In a letter to Critical Care Medicine, ultrasound legend Michael Blaivas reminds readers that during ultrasound-guided central venous catheterisation, an additional technique for differentiating the common carotid artery from the internal jugular vein: pulse-wave doppler.

Image reproduced with kind permission of Dr Blaivas

Blaivas states: “The left panel shows a classic arterial tracing from the common carotid artery with a normal velocity. The right panel shows the vessel of choice on the same patient: the right internal jugular vein. The image shows a slightly chaotic venous tracing from the jugular. This a common appearance and is markedly different from the waveform of the carotid.”
Posterior vessel wall penetration by needles during internal jugular vein central catheter placement using ultrasound guidance: is that a real danger? Author’s Reply.
Crit Care Med. 2010 Feb;38(2):736-7