Br J Anaesth. 2021 Dec;127(6):871-878. doi: 10.1016/j.bja.2021.07.023. Epub 2021 Sep 6.
BACKGROUND: Haemodynamically unstable patients often require arterial and venous catheter insertion urgently. We hypothesised that ultrasound-guided arterial and venous catheterisation would reduce mechanical complications.
METHODS: We performed a prospective RCT, where patients requiring both urgent arterial and venous femoral catheterisation were randomised to either ultrasound-guided or landmark-guided catheterisation. Complications and characteristics of catheter insertion (procedure duration, number of punctures, and procedure success) were recorded at the time of insertion (immediate complications). Late complications were investigated by ultrasound examination performed between the third and seventh days after randomisation. Primary outcome was the proportion of patients with at least one mechanical complication (immediate or late), by intention-to-treat analysis. Secondary outcomes included success rate, procedure time, and number of punctures.
RESULTS: We analysed 136 subjects (102 [75%] male; age range: 27-62 yr) by intention to treat. The proportion of subjects with one or more complications was lower in 22/67 (33%) subjects undergoing ultrasound-guided catheterisation compared with landmark-guided catheterisation (40/69 [58%]; odds ratio: 0.35 [95% confidence interval: 0.18-0.71]; P=0.003). Ultrasound-guided catheterisation reduced both immediate (27%, compared with 51% in the landmark approach group; P=0.004) and late (10%, compared with 23% in the landmark approach group; P=0.047) complications. Ultrasound guidance also reduced the proportion of patients who developed deep vein thrombosis (4%, compared with 22% following landmark approach; P=0.012), and achieved a higher procedural success rate (96% vs 78%; P=0.004).
CONCLUSIONS: An ultrasound-guided approach reduced mechanical complications after urgent femoral arterial and venous catheterisation, while increasing procedural success.
CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT02820909.