Ultrasound localization of the femoral vein facilitates successful cannulation for hemodialysis

Biomed J. Sep-Oct 2013;36(5):237-42. doi: 10.4103/2319-4170.113193.


Background: Real-time ultrasound-guided techniques allow for improved cannulation of the internal jugular vein and femoral vein for hemodialysis; however, these techniques require extra sterilization procedures, specialized probes, or needle guides. A simpler ultrasound vessel localization method was performed to investigate whether this alternative approach would aid in the cannulation of the femoral vein for patients in whom temporary angioaccess was required for hemodialysis.

Methods: Patients requiring temporary femoral vein catheters for hemodialysis were divided into 2 groups on alternating days of the week during a 6-month period. One group underwent ultrasound localization of the femoral vein before cannulation and the second group received conventional landmark localization. Data regarding the strength of the femoral arterial pulse, number of attempts, failures, and complications were recorded.

Results: Ultrasound localization resulted in significantly improved first-attempt success rates, reduced attempts, and reduced failure and complication rates overall (p < 0.001, p < 0.001, p = 0.002 and p = 0.004 respectively) as well as in the group of patients with a clearly discernible arterial pulse (p < 0.001, p = 0.001, p = 0.004 and p = 0.011 respectively). The same trend was observed among patients with faintly palpable or non-palpable femoral arterial pulses, although the differences were not statistically significant.

Conclusion: Cannulation of the femoral vein for hemodialysis should be performed with the aid of ultrasound. If real-time ultrasound-guided cannulation is not available, the vessel localization method is a good alternative, given its known limitations and the fact that it is simpler. It remains to be determined whether 1 - dimensional localization or localization including vessel depth information can improve outcomes in patients with faintly palpable or non-palpable femoral arterial pulses.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Catheterization* / methods
  • Female
  • Femoral Vein / diagnostic imaging*
  • Femoral Vein / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Jugular Veins / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Renal Dialysis* / methods
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional / methods