Intravenous literature: Schoenfeld, E., Boniface, K. and Shokoohi, H. (2011) ED technicians can successfully place ultrasound-guided intravenous catheters in patients with poor vascular access. American Journal of Emergency Medicine. 29(5), p.496-501.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of the study was to assess the success rate of emergency department (ED) technicians in placing ultrasound (US)-guided peripheral intravenous (IV) catheters.
METHODS: In this prospective, observational trial, 19 ED technicians were taught to use US guidance to obtain IV access. Training sessions consisted of didactic instruction and hands-on practice. The ED technicians were then prospectively followed. The US guidance for IV access was limited to patients with difficult access. The primary outcome was successful peripheral IV placement.
RESULTS: A total of 219 attempts were recorded, with a success rate of 78.5% (172/219). There was a significant correlation between operator experience and success rate. Complications were reported in 4.1% of patients and included 5 arterial punctures and 1 case of a transient paresthesia.
CONCLUSIONS: Emergency department technicians can be taught to successfully place US-guided IVs in patients with difficult venous access. Teaching this skill to ED technicians increases the pool of providers available in the ED to obtain access in this patient population.