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Jones, T., Stea, N., Stolz, U. and Adhikari, S. (2015) Ultrasound evaluation of saphenous vein for peripheral intravenous cannulation in adults. Journal of Vascular Access. April 27th. .


OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to investigate variables that may affect sonographic cannulation of great saphenous vein and determine the ideal location for ultrasound-guided saphenous vein cannulation in adult emergency department (ED) patients.

METHODS: A prospective observational study at an academic ED. The great saphenous vein was identified in adult subjects at three distinct sites after placing the tourniquet proximal to the vein: the ankle, mid-calf, and below the knee using a 10-5 MHz linear transducer. The depth of the saphenous vein from the skin surface and its diameter were measured in supine and reverse trendelenburg positions in both extremities.

RESULTS: A total of 60 subjects (male 30, female 30) were enrolled in the study. The median age of the patients was 50.5 years . The median body mass index (BMI) was 27.3 (IQR, 24.2-31.8). The great saphenous vein was significantly superficial in location at the ankle level compared with the calf (p<0.001), knee (p<0.001), and left side compared with the right (p<0.001). The subject position was not significantly related to saphenous vein depth (p = 0.68). The saphenous vein diameter was significantly larger in the left lower extremity than the right side (p = 0.007), and at the ankle level compared with the calf (p<0.001) and knee (p<0.001). The diameter of the vein increased significantly when patient’s position changed from supine to reverse Trendelenburg (p<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Our results support ultrasound evaluation of the course of great saphenous vein from the ankle to the knee for the selection of appropriate venipuncture site and cannulation.

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