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Peripheral IV placement with POCUS

January 14, 2016

It seems counter-intuitive, but peripheral IV placement with POCUS is the toughest procedure that we teach at EDE 2. Why? Because the target is so small compared to all of the other targets at which we are aiming our needle with the other procedures.This article by McCarthy et al. enrolled an impressive number of patients! Here’s Tom’s discussion of it:

So, the study concluded that POCUS is of no benefit in patients with easy access. There is however one caveat that I will throw in here. It relates to the learning curve. In order to climb your learning curve for placing peripheral IVs under POCUS guidance, you need to start with easy patients. Would the patient with easy access be better off if a nurse placed the IV by usual technique? For sure. But as long as you inform the patient that you are in part placing the IV for your own practice, then I think it’s reasonable, especially since peripheral IVs are such a low-risk procedure. Don’t forget that as medical students, we all placed peripheral IVs and we weren’t very good at it until we got some experience under our belts. Ditto for nursing students. It’s part of learning a new technique.

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