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Is ECG-guidance a helpful method to correctly position a central venous catheter during prehospital emergency care?

Content:
David J, Tazarourte K, Perfus J, Savary D. Is ECG-guidance a helpful method to correctly position a central venous catheter during prehospital emergency care? ACTA Anaestresiologica Scandinavica. Aug 2005;49(7):1010-1014. BACKGROUND: Insertion of a central venous catheter (CVC) in an emergency situation is challenging and may be potentially associated with more complications. Because CVC positioning by ECG-guidance may help to decrease the frequency of a malpositioned catheter, we decided to prospectively evaluate the usefulness of positioning a CVC by ECG-guidance during prehospital emergency care. METHODS: Prospective observational study during which all patients requiring CVC placement during prehospital care were included. We compared two periods of 1 year during which CVCs were inserted without and then with the help of ECG-guidance. RESULTS: Eighty successive patients were included. We observed a significant reduction of incorrectly positioned CVCs with ECG-guidance (13% vs. 38%, P < 0.05) and a decreased number of chest X-rays needed to verify the position of the CVC (40 vs. 54, P < 0.05). CONCLUSION: ECG-guidance is a safe and feasible technique which significantly improved the rate of CVCs correctly positioned during prehospital emergency care. Link to reference

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