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Anaesthesia. 2000 Mar;55(3):247-50.

Evaluation of a needle-free injection system for local anaesthesia prior to venous cannulation.

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Royal Free and University College Medical School, Room 103, 1st Floor Crosspiece, Middlesex Hospital, Mortimer Street, London W1N 8AA, UK.


We evaluated a single-use, disposable, carbon-dioxide-powered, needleless injector (J-Tip, National Medical Products Inc., CA, USA), which is claimed to deliver a virtually painless, subcutaneous injection. Seventy-two patients undergoing various types of surgery had a large-bore intravenous cannula inserted prior to induction of general anaesthesia. Three minutes beforehand, a subcutaneous injection of 0.3 ml of 1% plain lidocaine was administered. Subjects were randomly allocated to receive the lidocaine either by the needleless injector or from a conventional syringe and a 25 G needle. Pain scores were recorded on injection of the lidocaine and on insertion of the cannula. There was significantly less pain on injection with the needleless injector than with the 25 G needle (p < 0.001) but, surprisingly, there was more pain on cannulation (p < 0. 001). We conclude that the device certainly delivers a less painful subcutaneous injection than a 25 G needle, but perhaps provides less effective skin anaesthesia for venous cannulation at sites where the subcutaneous space is small; its use might be better suited to areas where the subcutaneous space is deeper.

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