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How effective is ECG guidance for CVAD tip placement


Walker, G., Alexandrou, E., Rickard, C.M., Chan, R.J. and Webster, J. (2015) Effectiveness of electrocardiographic guidance in CVAD tip placement. British Journal of Nursing. 24(Sup14), p.S4-S12.


BACKGROUND: International standard practice for the correct confirmation of the central venous access device is the chest X-ray. The intracavitary electrocardiogram-based insertion method is radiation-free, and allows real-time placement verification, providing immediate treatment and reduced requirement for post-procedural repositioning.

METHODS: Relevant databases were searched for prospective randomised controlled trials (RCTs) or quasi RCTs that compared the effectiveness of electrocardiogram-guided catheter tip positioning with placement using surface-anatomy-guided insertion plus chest X-ray confirmation. The primary outcome was accurate catheter tip placement. Secondary outcomes included complications, patient satisfaction and costs.

RESULTS: Five studies involving 729 participants were included. Electrocardiogram-guided insertion was more accurate than surface anatomy guided insertion (odds ratio: 8.3; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.38; 50.07; p=0.02). There was a lack of reporting on complications, patient satisfaction and costs.

CONCLUSION: The evidence suggests that intracavitary electrocardiogram-based positioning is superior to surface-anatomy-guided positioning of central venous access devices, leading to significantly more successful placements. This technique could potentially remove the requirement for post-procedural chest X-ray, especially during peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) line insertion.

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