Normal venous distention is <4 cm. normally when a person lies supine vein distention occurs, however when the bed is elevated 45 degrees the level of distention falls to about 3-4 cm above the clavicle or above the sternal angle. Venous distention provides info relating to the volume & pressure of the venous blood in the right heart (if greater suspect Rt ventricular failure)

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Figure 7b: This pattern of blood flow can be difficult to perceive when the jugular vein is not distended. They can be accentuated when the vein is poorly distended (note the partly collapsed internal jugular vein) and because of changes due to breathing (changes intrathoracic pressures affect the blood flow patterns). This causes the pattern of blood flow to become more complex. Click for larger image. Loss of pulsatility, especially if it is unilateral suggests central venous…

Cardiovascular Examination - Part Two: Inspection and palpation of the precordium | Practice | Nursing Times

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It is ideal to examine the internal jugular vein with the patient resting comfortably at an angle of 450. The jugular vein closely reflects the pressure changes within the right atrium

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Central venous catheter - a blood-vessel access device usually inserted into the subclavian or jugular vein w/ the distal tip resting in the superior vena cava just above the (R) atrium; used for long- term intravenous Tx or TPN

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