Ultrasound guidance beats clinician’s touch for pediatric cannula placement

When it comes to inserting cannulas in the radial arteries of pediatric CCU patients, ultrasound guidance is superior to manual palpation, according to a study running in the December edition of the Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine.

Comparing the two approaches in 84 children randomized into groups of 43 for palpation and 41 for ultrasound-guided placement, Nattachai Anantasit, MD, and colleagues at Mahidol University in Thailand found the latter significantly better at both first-attempt and total-success rates.

As well, the median time to success for the ultrasound-guided group was significantly shorter than that for the palpation group.

Further, cannulation-related complications were lower in the ultrasound-guided group.

Perhaps most impressive of all, each of these results was achieved by inexperienced trainees.

“To our knowledge, a randomized controlled study of radial artery cannulation performed by trainees in a pediatric critical care setting has not been reported previously,” the authors write. “We recommend ultrasound-guided radial artery cannulation in critically ill young children because of its higher success rate and lower incidence of complications, in concordance with previous studies.”

The journal has posted the study in full for free.