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J Ultrasound Med. 2010 May;29(5):741-7.

Comparison of infection rates among ultrasound-guided versus traditionally placed peripheral intravenous lines.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska, USA.



The purpose of this study was to compare infection rates of peripheral intravenous (IV) lines placed under ultrasound guidance with traditionally placed IV lines.


We conducted a retrospective review of emergency department (ED) and hospital records of adult patients who had a peripheral IV line placed in the ED and were admitted to the hospital over a 1-year period. This study took place at a level I academic urban ED with an annual census of 75,000. All admitted patients with a peripheral IV placed under ultrasound guidance in the ED were identified. Control patients had a traditional landmark approach. Emergency department nurses followed standard aseptic precautions when inserting both ultrasound-guided as well as traditionally placed IV lines. Researchers reviewed all parts of the medical record, including ED and inpatient notes. Descriptive statistics and chi(2) and Fisher exact tests were used in data evaluation.


A total of 402 patients who had peripheral IV lines placed under ultrasound guidance were compared with 402 matched control patients. In the ultrasound-guided IV group, the mean time between insertion to catheter removal was 2.6 days compared with 2.4 days in the traditional group (P = .03). There were 2 documented infections in the ultrasound group and 3 in the traditional group, yielding infection rates of 5.2 per 1000 in the ultrasound-guided IV group and 7.8 per 1000 in the traditional approach group. There was no statistically significant difference between infection rates in the two groups (P = .68).


Both traditional and ultrasound-guided approaches had low infection rates, suggesting that there is no increased risk of infection with ultrasound guidance for peripheral IV lines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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