Research| Volume 47, ISSUE 1, P123-130, January 2021

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The Effect of Catheter Length Placed Into the Vein on Peripheral Ultrasound-Guided Catheter Survival Time: A Prospective Observational Study

Published:September 23, 2020DOI:



      Establishing and maintaining peripheral intravenous access in patients with no visible or palpable veins can be arduous. Intravenous catheters placed with ultrasound do not survive as long as traditionally placed catheters. This study was performed to determine the relationship between the catheter length placed into the lumen of the vein using ultrasound and catheter survival.


      This was a nonrandomized prospective observational study of admitted patients with difficult intravenous placement in 2017. Subjects had ultrasound-guided peripheral intravenous placement in the emergency department or intensive care unit. The main outcome was the time of catheter survival. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and Cox regression.


      A total of 98 patients with an average age of 63 years were enrolled. The total number of cases examined was 97 (N = 97), of which 29 intravenous catheters were removed for catheter-related problems (events). The mean (SD) survival time for catheters placed using ultrasound was 3,445 minutes (2,414) or 2.39 days. Peripheral catheter survival was not significantly related to the in-vein length of the catheter (X2 = 0.03, P = 0.86) nor was it significantly related to any of the covariates.


      The survival time of ultrasound-guided intravenous access doubled in the present study from 1674 minutes in a previous 2013 study. The results may have been due to clinician expertise and experience with the peripheral ultrasound-guided method and the use of updated equipment.


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      Gayla Miles is Staff Nurse, Emergency Department, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital, Fort Worth, TX.


      Patricia Newcomb is a Nurse Scientist, Texas Health Resources, Arlington, TX.


      Dave Spear is Emergency Room Physician, Emergency Department, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital, Fort Worth, TX.