Objectives: To determine whether the use of a near-infrared light venipuncture aid (VeinViewer; Luminetx Corporation, Memphis, Tenn) would improve the rate of successful first-attempt placement of intravenous (IV) catheters in a high-volume pediatric emergency department (ED).
Methods: Patients younger than 20 years with standard clinical indications for IV access were randomized to have IV placement by ED nurses (in 3 groups stratified by 5-year blocks of nursing experience) using traditional methods (standard group) or with the aid of the near-infrared light source (device group). If a vein could not be cannulated after 3 attempts, patients crossed over from one study arm to the other, and study nurses attempted placement with the alternative technique. The primary end point was first-attempt success rate for IV catheter placement. After completion of patient enrollment, a questionnaire was completed by study nurses as a qualitative assessment of the device.
Results: A total of 123 patients (median age, 3 years) were included in the study: 62 in the standard group and 61 in the device group. There was no significant difference in first-attempt success rate between the standard (79.0%, 95% confidence interval [CI], 66.8%-88.3%) and device (72.1%, 95% CI, 59.2%-82.9%) groups. Of the 19 study nurses, 14 completed the questionnaire of whom 70% expressed neutral or unfavorable assessments of the device in nondehydrated patients without chronic underlying medical conditions and 90% found the device a helpful tool for patients in whom IV access was difficult.
Conclusions: First-attempt success rate for IV placement was nonsignificantly higher without than with the assistance of a near-infrared light device in a high-volume pediatric ED. Nurses placing IVs did report several benefits to use of the device with specific patient groups, and future research should be conducted to demonstrate the role of the device in these patients.