Seldinger technique

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  • Needle
  • Guidewire
  • Catheter.

Technique described by Sven-Ivar Seldinger in 1953.[1][2] It was developed as a safer method of gaining access to cavity, in contrast to direct insertion of a catheter or passing a needle through a large trocar.

A coiled up guidewire.
A close-up view of the tip of a guidewire.

It relies on a needle to initially gain entry to the required cavity. A guidewire is passed through the needle. Once the guidewire is in place, the needle is removed. The catheter is then passed over the guidewire, though in some cases dilatation of the entry site is required to accommodate the catheter.

The guidewire is ingeniously formed with a soft end to avoid poking it through the other side of the vessel or cavity, by omitting the central stiffening wire in the terminal centimetre or so.

  • Distinguish which is the soft end
  • You can fix the pre-inserted wire with your little finger.

In arterial cannulation, placing the soft end of the Seldinger wire just inside the proximal end of the needle minimises mess. Another approach is to use the barrel of a small syringe as a combination handle, guide for the wire into the needle hub, and reservoir for the emerging arterial blood.

External link

There is a Flash animation of placement of a venous catheter at

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