Interpreting lines and tubes on radiographs
Identifying and confirming position
- By: Amy Davis, Lauren Ramsay, Mark Ingram
Hospital patients often encounter “lines” or “tubes” as part of their medical care, and many will undergo some form of imaging to check that the inserted lines are correctly placed. Even if this preliminary imaging is not done, lines and tubes will be visible on radiographs taken as part of clinical investigations. It is important to know how to interpret tubes and lines on radiographs—how to tell what something is and if it is in the right place.
The entry point of the umbilical vein catheter is the umbilical vein; from there the catheter follows through the left portal vein, the ductus venosus, and either the left or the middle hepatic vein into its final position in the inferior vena cava—ideally at the inferior vena cava/right atrial junction at the level of T8/9. Unlike the umbilical artery catheter, the umbilical vein catheter does not dip downwards into the pelvis and