Ultrasound for peripheral IV access


Intravenous literature: Gregg, S.C., Murthi, S.B., Sisley, A.C., Stein, D.M. and Scalea, T.M. (2010) Ultrasound-guided peripheral intravenous access in the intensive care unit. Journal of Critical Care. 25(3), p.514-9.


PURPOSE: Central venous catheters continue to be a popular means of maintaining vascular access in surgical intensive care units despite well-described complications. With edema, obesity, and difficult to visualize veins potentially affecting the surgically ill, inability to obtain peripheral intravenous (PIV) access may hinder the clinician’s ability to avoid the use of central lines. With ultrasound gaining increased popularity for obtaining vascular access, we evaluated its utility in ultrasonagraphically placing PIV catheters for the purposes of either avoiding central venous access or removing central venous catheters.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We performed a retrospective cohort review of our requests for ultrasound-guided PIV access in the intensive care unit between September 2007 and February 2008.

RESULTS: Over a 6-month period, 77 requests for ultrasound-guided PIV access were made for 59 surgical, trauma, and cardiothoracic intensive care unit patients. Reasons for inability to obtain PIVs through standard means included edema (95%), obesity (42%), IV drug abuse history (8%), and emergency access (4%). Of the 148 PIV lines that were requested, 147 PIV catheters were successfully placed (99%). Of these, 105 PIV catheters were placed on the first attempt (71%). Complications of PIVs included IV infiltration (3.4%), inadvertent removal (2.7%), and phlebitis/cellulitis (0.7%). As a result of placing these PIV catheters, 40 central lines were discontinued and 34 central lines were avoided. The average number of line days at the time of central venous catheter removal was 11 +/- 11 days.

CONCLUSION(S): In intensive care unit patients who do not require central venous lines, ultrasound-guided PIV access can have a high placement success rate and can result in fewer central line days and/or less reliance on central venous catheters for access-only purposes.


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