The history of arterial catheter insertion and pressure monitoring dates back to the early 1950s. Critically ill patients requiring serial blood sampling and real-time pressure monitoring for continuous assessment for treatment of hypertension or hypotension benefit from invasive hemodynamic monitoring. Continuous monitoring is more precise than currently available noninvasive monitoring systems. Rapid physiologic changes of the critically ill patient demand frequent titration of drugs that exceed the capability of noninvasive intermittent blood pressure devices. Over the last 60 years, technological advances have improved catheter design and insertion techniques that reduce insertion-related complications and improve first-stick success. In addition, recent guidelines for the use of ultrasound, site selection, use, care, maintenance, and techniques for sterile catheter insertion have been established to further minimize risks to patients.

The use of visualization technology, including ultrasound, has become the standard of practice for...

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