Bedside vascular ultrasound machines are increasingly available. They are used to facilitate safer vascular access across a number of different specialties” Wiles et al (2017).
PURPOSE: Bedside vascular ultrasound machines are increasingly available. They are used to facilitate safer vascular access across a number of different specialties. In the electrophysiology laboratory however, where patients are frequently anticoagulated and require the insertion of multiple venous sheaths, anatomical landmark techniques predominate. Despite the high number of vascular complications associated with electrophysiological procedures and the increasing evidence to support its use in electrophysiology, ultrasound remains underutilised. A new standard of care is required. A comprehensive technical report, providing a detailed explanation of this important technique, will provide other electrophysiology centres with the knowledge and justification for adopting ultrasound guidance as their standard practice.
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METHOD: We review the increasing body of evidence which demonstrates that routine ultrasound usage can substantially improve the safety of femoral venous access in the electrophysiology laboratory. We offer a comprehensive technical report to guide operators through the process of ultrasound-guided venous access, with a specific focus on the electrophysiology laboratory. Additionally, we detail a novel technique which utilises real-time colour Doppler ultrasound to accurately identify needle tip location during venous puncture.
CONCLUSIONS: The use of vascular ultrasound to guide femoral venous cannulation is rapid, inexpensive and easily learnt. Ultrasound is readily available and offers the potential to significantly reduce vascular complications in the unique setting of the electrophysiology laboratory. Ultrasound guidance to achieve femoral venous access should be the new standard of care in electrophysiology.
Wiles, B.M., Child, N. and Roberts, P.R. (2017) How to achieve ultrasound-guided femoral venous access: the new standard of care in the electrophysiology laboratory. Journal of Interventional Cardiac Electrophysiology. February 7th. [Epub ahead of print].
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