"With more than 500 000 IO catheters placed in the United States each year, this novel technique may improve overall IO safety" Greenstein et al (2023).

Intraosseous needle position confirmation


Purpose: Intraosseous (IO) catheters allow healthcare workers to rapidly administer fluids and medications to critically ill patients when intravenous access is inadequate or unable to be obtained. An improperly placed IO catheter can lead to delays in care, as well as serious complications such as limb necrosis.

Methods: In this single-center, prospective, observational study, we compared 2 established methods of confirming proper IO catheter placement to a novel pressure waveform analysis technique in which the IO catheter is attached to a standard pressure transducer. Attaching a pressure transducer to a properly placed IO catheter produces a pulsatile waveform. Misplacement of the IO catheter produces a flatline waveform.

Results: Of 42 IO catheters, 8 (19%) were incorrectly placed per the waveform analysis technique. Compared to the pressure waveform analysis technique, the standard method and the power Doppler method incorrectly classified 4/8 (50%) and 5/8 (62.5%) of the misplaced catheters, respectively. The standard method had a higher positive predictive value for detecting incorrectly placed IO catheters than the power Doppler method (100% vs 63%, respectively). Blinded reviewers demonstrated better agreement using the pressure waveform analysis technique than using power Doppler (k = 0.77 vs k = 0.58, respectively).

Conclusion: The standard and power Doppler ultrasonography techniques identify incorrectly placed IO catheters sub-optimally. The pressure waveform analysis technique is more accurate than the standard of care and has superior interrater agreement compared to the ultrasound method of confirmation. With more than 500 000 IO catheters placed in the United States each year, this novel technique may improve overall IO safety.

Trial Registration Number: NCT03908879.


Greenstein YY, Ferrara S, Jomi J, Soetanto V, Zuckerman O, Sena A, Ostrovsky I, Alerhand S. A Prospective Comparison of Standard Technique, Doppler Ultrasonography, and Pressure Waveform Analysis for Confirming Intraosseous Catheter Placement. J Intensive Care Med. 2023 Aug 30:8850666231199086. doi: 10.1177/08850666231199086. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37647305.