Real-time ultrasound to determine PICC tip location in neonates reduces need for radiographs


Intravenous literature: Katheria, A.C., Fleming, S.E. and Kim, J.H. (2013) A randomized controlled trial of ultrasound-guided peripherally inserted central catheters compared with standard radiograph in neonates. Journal of Perinatology13th June. .


Objective: The placement of a peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) routinely incorporates tip position confirmation using standard radiographs. In this study, we sought to determine whether real-time ultrasound (RTUS) could be used to place a PICC in a shorter time period, with fewer manipulations and fewer radiographs than the use of radiographs to determine accurate placement.

Study Design: This was a prospective, randomized, trial of infants who required PICC placement. Catheters were placed using either standard radiograph, with blinded evaluation of the catheters using RTUS or with RTUS guidance, with input on catheter tip location. The number of radiographs required to confirm proper positioning, duration of the procedure and manipulations of the lines were recorded for both groups. Final confirmation of PICC placement was by radiographs in both groups.

Results: A total of 64 patients were enrolled in the study, with 16 failed PICC attempts. Of the 48 remaining infants, 28 were in the standard placement group and 20 were in the RTUS-guided group. The mean±s.d. gestational ages and weight at time of placement were 30±4 weeks and 1229±485 g, respectively. The RTUS use significantly decreased the time of line placement by 30 min (P=0.034), and decreased the median number of manipulations (0 vs 1, P=0.032) and radiographs (1 vs 2 P=0.001) taken to place the catheters. Early identification of the PICC by RTUS was possible in all cases and would have saved an additional 38 min if radiographs were not required.

Conclusion: In the hands of ultrasound (US)-experienced neonatologists, RTUS-guided PICC placement reduces catheter insertion duration, and is associated with fewer manipulations and radiographs when compared with conventional placement.

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