• Trained nurses more successfully gained PIV access under ultrasound guidance.

  • A robust US-guided PIV access technique training program was conducted in our study

  • Stasis edema was the most common reason for difficult PIV access in the ICU.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to compare nurse-performed ultrasound (US)-guided technique with standard of care (SOC) technique for difficult peripheral intravenous (PIV) access among patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU).

Materials and Methods: This was a randomized, prospective, open-label single-site study. ICU nurses completed a standardized training program for US-guided PIV access placement before patient enrollment. ICU patients with difficult PIV access were randomized to either nurse-performed US-guided technique or SOC technique. Primary outcome was success rate on the first attempt. Secondary outcomes were success rate after 2 attempts and frequency of complications after successful placement.

Results: A total of 60 patients were enrolled; 30 were randomized to receive US-guided technique, and 30 to SOC technique. Success rate on the first attempt was significantly higher with US-guided technique compared with SOC technique (70% vs 40%; P < 0.05). Success rates after 2 attempts were 73.3% for US-guided technique and 46.6% for SOC technique (P = 0.065). Extravasation after successful placement occurred in 13.6% of patients with US-guided technique, and 28.6% of patients with SOC technique (P = 0.394).

Conclusions: Among ICU patients with difficult PIV access, US-guided PIV access placement by nurses who underwent standardized training was more successful than placement with SOC technique.

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