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Pediatr Emerg Care. 2006 May;22(5):339-45.

Brief focal ultrasound with topical anesthetic decreases the pain of intravenous placement in children.

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  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI 02903, USA.



To determine whether brief, focal pretreatment of children's skin with low-frequency ultrasound followed by a 5-minute application of a 4% lidocaine topical anesthetic decreases the pain of intravenous (IV) catheter placement.


A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial enrolling children 8 to 18 years of age undergoing IV placement as part of their care in a pediatric emergency department. Thirty-eight children received pretreatment followed by 5-minute application of a topical anesthetic. Thirty-nine children received pretreatment followed by 5-minute application of a placebo cream. Children and parents rated the pain associated with IV placement using the visual analog scale (VAS).


There were no significant differences in demographics between the 2 groups. Children in the treatment group had significantly lower VAS scores (mean, 2.29) than children in the control group (mean, 3.23) (P = 0.023; 95% confidence interval of the mean difference, -1.87 to -0.02). The parents' VAS scores of the child's pain were also lower for the treatment group (mean, 2.47 vs 3.39; P = 0.038; confidence interval, -1.97 to 0.11).


Visual analog scale scores measuring children's pain and parents' perception of the child's pain were lower in those who were pretreated with brief focal ultrasound and 5 minutes of 4% lidocaine cream when compared with those pretreated with ultrasound and placebo.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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