It is estimated that 5 million CVADs are placed each year in the United States. These CVADs can take many forms, including PICC lines, non-tunneled catheters (subclavian, jugular or femoral), tunneled catheters (Hickman, Broviac, etc.) and implanted ports.
There are strict and well-known guidelines for the safe insertion and removal of these devices so that air embolism does not occur. When these guidelines are followed, air embolism is entirely preventable. In fact, Medicare considers air embolism associated with CVADs to be a “Never Event,” which means that it should never happen with proper care.