ED technicians can successfully place ultrasound-guided intravenous catheters in patients with poor vascular access

Author Department

Emergency Medicine

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date



OBJECTIVE: The objective of the study was to assess the success rate of emergency department (ED) technicians in placing ultrasound (US)-guided peripheral intravenous (i.v.) catheters. METHODS: In this prospective, observational trial, 19 ED technicians were taught to use US guidance to obtain i.v. access. Training sessions consisted of didactic instruction and hands-on practice. The ED technicians were then prospectively followed. The US guidance for i.v. access was limited to patients with difficult access. The primary outcome was successful peripheral i.v. placement. RESULTS: A total of 219 attempts were recorded, with a success rate of 78.5% (172/219). There was a significant correlation between operator experience and success rate. Complications were reported in 4.1% of patients and included 5 arterial punctures and 1 case of a transient paresthesia. CONCLUSIONS: Emergency department technicians can be taught to successfully place US-guided IVs in patients with difficult venous access. Teaching this skill to ED technicians increases the pool of providers available in the ED to obtain access in this patient population. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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