Efficacy of Ultrasound-Guided Peripheral Intravenous Cannulation versus Standard of Care: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology




Emergency department; Intravenous; Peripheral intravenous cannulation; Ultrasound guided


Peripheral intravenous cannulation (PIV) is a common and necessary procedure in the emergency department (ED). Patients with PIV access encounter significant treatment delay. Ultrasound guidance for PIV (USGPIV) cannulation is a modality to reduce delay of care in such patients, but its efficacy, when compared with cannulation by the standard of care (SOC), the landmark and palpation method, has not been well established. We performed a random effects meta-analysis of available literature that compared USGPIV with SOC cannulation. We searched PubMed, Scopus and EMBASE until October 2020 for eligible studies in adult patients. We excluded non-English language, non-full-text studies. Our primary outcome was rate of first successful cannulation. Other outcomes were number of attempts and patient satisfaction. After identifying 284 studies and screening 74 studies, we included 10 studies. There were 1860 patients, 966 (52%) in the USGPIV group and 894 (48%) who received the SOC. Sixty-six percent of patients were female. USGPIV cannulation was associated with a two-times higher likelihood of first successful cannulation (odds ratio: 2.1, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.65–2.7, p < 0.001, I2 = 2.9%). While procedure length was similar in both groups, USGPIV was associated with a significantly smaller number of attempts (standardized mean difference [SMD]: –0.272, 95% CI: –0.539 to –0.004, p = 0.047) and significantly higher patient satisfaction (SMD: 1.467, 95% CI: 0.92–2.012, p < 0.001). There was low heterogeneity among our included studies, which were mostly randomized control trials. Our study confirmed that USGPIV cannulation offers a more effective modality, compared with SOC, to improve quality of care for patients with difficult PIV access.

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