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Ann Emerg Med. 1999 Apr;33(4):395-9.

A randomized clinical trial of dermal anesthesia by iontophoresis for peripheral intravenous catheter placement in children.

Author information

  • 1Section of Emergency Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, and the Department of Anesthesiology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, USA. mkim@mcw.edu



To assess the efficacy of dermal anesthesia by lidocaine iontophoresis in children undergoing peripheral intravenous (PIV) catheter placement in the emergency department.


A double-blind, randomized, clinical trial was conducted at a tertiary children's hospital ED. Alert children 7 years or older requiring nonemergency PIV were eligible. Patients in the lidocaine group received 1 mL of 2% lidocaine with 1:100,000 epinephrine over a potential PIV site by iontophoresis. The control group received 1 mL of.9% saline solution with 1:100,000 epinephrine. After PIV placement, patients ranked the procedural pain using a visual analog scale. Complications were noted by visual inspection or telephone follow-up.


During a 6-month period, 22 patients were assigned to the lidocaine group and 25 to the control group. There was no significant difference in age, sex, or ethnic background between the 2 study groups, and mean application time was 12.0 minutes. The median pain score was.5 in the lidocaine group compared with 4 in the control group (P =.0002; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1 to 5). No significant immediate or delayed complications were observed.


Lidocaine iontophoresis provides effective dermal anesthesia for children older than 7 years of undergoing nonemergency PIV placement in the ED.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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