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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.

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



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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