Purpose: To provide clinicians with an evidence-based overview of all topics related to ultrasound vascular access.
Methods: An international evidence-based consensus provided definitions and recommendations. Medical literature on ultrasound vascular access was reviewed from January 1985 to October 2010. The GRADE and the GRADE-RAND methods were utilised to develop recommendations.
Results: The recommendations following the conference suggest the advantage of 2D vascular screening prior to cannulation and that real-time ultrasound needle guidance with an in-plane/long-axis technique optimises the probability of needle placement. Ultrasound guidance can be used not only for central venous cannulation but also in peripheral and arterial cannulation. Ultrasound can be used in order to check for immediate and life-threatening complications as well as the catheter's tip position. Educational courses and training are required to achieve competence and minimal skills when cannulation is performed with ultrasound guidance. A recommendation to create an ultrasound curriculum on vascular access is proposed. This technique allows the reduction of infectious and mechanical complications.
Conclusions: These definitions and recommendations based on a critical evidence review and expert consensus are proposed to assist clinicians in ultrasound-guided vascular access and as a reference for future clinical research.