Proximal humerus intraosseous infusion: a preferred emergency venous access

J Trauma. 2009 Sep;67(3):606-11. doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e3181b16f42.


Purpose: To assess the proximal humerus intraosseous (PHIO) catheter placement as a preferred method for venous access over conventional methods, including peripheral intravenous (PIV) and central venous catheters (CVCs), during emergency room resuscitation.

Methods: In phase 1, conventional methods for venous access (PIV and CVC) were assessed for all patients presenting to the emergency department resuscitation bay. Outcome measures in both phases were speed, immediate complications, and pain. CVC placement was performed when PIV access was deemed impossible or when rapid volume resuscitation was needed. In phase 2, resuscitations requiring venous access or complicated by failed PIV access attempts underwent PHIO catheter placement.

Results: Sixty-two patients received either PIV (57) or CVC (5) catheterization, and 29 patients received 30 PHIO catheters. PHIO catheter placement was significantly faster than conventional methods (1.5 [SD 1.1] versus 3.6 minutes [SD 3.7; p < 0.001 for PIV, and 15.6 minutes [SD 6.7; p < 0.0056] for CVC). No major complications were identified in either phase. Minor complications for PIV access included extravasation and placement failure. Minor complications for CVC placement included inability to thread the guidewire. Minor complications with PHIO catheter placement included placement failure, poor flow, and catheter dislodgement. Pain scores associated with PHIO insertion and infusion were higher than those associated with PIV and CVC catheter placement.

Conclusion: PHIO catheter placement is significantly faster than PIV and CVC placement with increased minor complication profile and perceived pain. PHIO venous access is absolutely life saving when PIV or CVC placement is difficult or impossible.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Catheterization, Peripheral / methods*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intraosseous*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wounds and Injuries / complications
  • Wounds and Injuries / pathology
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy*