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  1. Galen, Benjamin T. MD
  2. Southern, William N. MD


Purpose: The traditional technique of placing a peripheral intravenous (IV) catheter is successful in most cases on inpatient wards. However, when the traditional method fails, a central venous catheter may be placed to maintain IV access. These catheters are associated with risks including central line-associated bloodstream infection.


Methods: We evaluated the effectiveness and acceptability of an ultrasound-guided peripheral IV service to reduce the number of newly placed central venous catheters on an inpatient ward. Central venous catheters were counted daily on intervention and control wards using a standard protocol, and rates of newly placed catheters were compared using a Poisson regression model. Nurses were surveyed to assess acceptability and perceived benefit.


Results: We found a reduction in the rate of newly placed central venous catheters on the intervention unit compared with the control unit at 90 days: mean 0.47 versus 0.67 newly placed central venous catheters/day, but the difference was not significant (P = .08). Nurses were in favor of the ultrasound-guided IV service, with perceived benefit to their patients.


Conclusion: Ultrasound-guided peripheral IV might reduce unnecessary central venous catheters on general inpatient wards. A portable ultrasound used for this purpose was found to be acceptable by nursing staff.