Objectives: We determined the survival and complications of ultrasonography-guided peripheral intravenous (IV) catheters in emergency department (ED) patients with difficult peripheral access. Methods: This was a prospective, observational study conducted in an academic hospital from April to July of 2007. We included consecutive adult ED patients with difficult access who had ultrasonography-guided peripheral IVs placed. Operators completed data sheets and researchers examined admitted patients daily to assess outcomes. The primary outcome was IV survival >96 hours. As a secondary outcome, we recorded IV complications, including central line placement. We used descriptive statistics, univariate survival analysis with Kaplan Meier, and log-rank tests for data analysis. Results: Seventy-five patients were enrolled. The average age was 52 years. Fifty-three percent were male, 21% obese, and 13% had a history of injection drug use. The overall IV survival rate was 56% (95% confidence interval, 44%-67%) with a median survival of 26 hours (interquartile range [IQR], 8-61). Forty-seven percent of IVs failed within 24 hours, most commonly due to infiltration. Although 47 (63%) operators reported that a central line would have been required if peripheral access was unobtainable, only 5 (7%; 95% confidence interval, 2%-15%) patients underwent central venous catheterization. Only 1 central line was placed as a result of ultrasonography-guided IV failure. We observed no infectious or thrombotic complications. Conclusion: Despite a high premature failure rate, ultrasonography-guided peripheral IVs appear to be an effective alternative to central line placement in ED patients with difficult access.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine