Cureus. 2022 Apr 15;14(4):e24157. doi: 10.7759/cureus.24157. eCollection 2022 Apr.
Background Several studies have recommended the use of vascular access in the treatment of COVID-19 patients. However, little is known about the utility and safety of using a peripheral ultrasound-guided vascular access device (UGVAD) at the bedside of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. To examine this, a retrospective monocenter study was carried out at the oncology-hematology department of Azienda Sanitaria di Piacenza, Italy. Methods We retrospectively analyzed data from three general hospitals in a district in North Italy on the positioning of UGVADs used with hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The positioning of the VAD was performed by a dedicated team using ultrasound guidance. The primary endpoint was the duration of VAD until the patient's recovery or death. The secondary endpoints were complications of the use of VADs, which included vein thrombosis, infections, device malfunction, and viral contamination of the operators. Results Between February 21, 2020, and April 30, 2020, 253 consecutive hospitalized patients with COVID-19 pneumonia underwent UGVAD positioning. A midline was inserted in 88.53% of the patients, while peripheral central venous catheters and femoral central catheters were inserted in 9.88% and 1.59% of the patients, respectively. The mean lifespan of the VADs was 10.36±9.96 days (range: 1-73). Primary endpoint: The use of the VAD allowed the planned treatment in 92.88% of the patients; in the remaining 7.12%, the VAD was repositioned. Secondary endpoints: Complications of VAD were registered in 15.02% of the patients (dislocation, 9.49%; infection, 1.98%; thrombosis, 1.58%; occlusion, 1.19%; and malfunction, 0.79%). No contamination of the operators was registered. Discussion and conclusion With the limitation of being a retrospective study, our report suggests that ultrasound-guided positioning of VAD may allow the safe clinical management (drug infusion, hydration, parenteral nutrition, and phlebotomy) of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The observance of recommended procedures protected all operators from infection.