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Empowering Patient Care: Handheld Ultrasound for Better IV Access

Posted on 22 May 2024

Accessing veins for medical procedures can be tricky, especially for patients with tough veins. Using ultrasound to guide the insertion of intravenous catheters is recommended in such cases. However, traditional ultrasound machines are often bulky, expensive, and only found in specialized departments, creating a challenge for wider adoption. That's where compact, affordable handheld ultrasound devices could play a role in revolutionising vascular access at the bedside.

A recent review looked into the use of handheld ultrasound devices weighing 3 kg or less for IV catheter insertion. Here's what we found:

- Limited Access to Ultrasound: Many healthcare settings lack easy access to ultrasound technology for IV procedures outside of specialized areas. This can lead to delays and discomfort for patients.

- Compact Handheld Devices: There's a trend towards smaller, more affordable handheld ultrasound devices. These gadgets could bring ultrasound-guided IV insertion to more places, making procedures smoother and faster.

- Need for More Research: While handheld ultrasound devices show promise, we need more studies to fully understand their effectiveness compared to traditional ultrasound, as well as their safety and cost benefits.

- Better Patient Outcomes: By improving vein identification and catheter placement, handheld ultrasound devices could reduce complications and boost patient satisfaction.

In essence, compact handheld ultrasound devices are a game-changer for IV procedures. They could make ultrasound technology more accessible, improve procedural accuracy, and ultimately enhance patient care.

Read more: https://journals.lww.com/journalofinfusionnursing/abstract/2024/03000/handheld_ultrasound_devices_for_peripheral.2.aspx 

Authors: Gillian Ray-Barruel, Priscilla Pather, Jessica A. Schults, Claire M. Rickard


Griffith University
Australia 4111