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Am J Emerg Med. 1990 Jul;8(4):305-7.

Success rates for initiation of intravenous therapy en route by prehospital care providers.

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Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA.


The optimal extent of prehospital care, including intravenous (IV) therapy for critically ill patients, remains unclear. The authors evaluated the success rate for IV cannulation in a moving ambulance by trained emergency medical technicians and paramedics in 641 adult medical- and trauma-related cases. At least one IV line was started in 80% of medical patients and 92% of trauma patients, regardless of blood pressure. In hypotensive patients, the success rates for at least one IV in medical and trauma patients were 80% and 95%, respectively. These data suggest that IV lines can be secured with a high degree of success en route to the hospital by trained personnel, and that prompt transport of unstable patients should not be delayed solely to obtain IV access.

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