Ultrasound for Pediatric Peripheral Intravenous Catheter Insertion: A Systematic Review

Pediatrics. 2022 May 1;149(5):e2021055523. doi: 10.1542/peds.2021-055523.


Background and objectives: Establishing peripheral intravenous catheter (PIVC) access in infants and children is a common procedure but can be technically difficult. The primary objective was to determine the effect ultrasound had on first attempt PIVC insertion success rates in the pediatric population. Secondary objectives included overall success rates and subgroups analyses.

Methods: A systematic review of articles using Medline, Embase, CENTRAL, World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, and ClinicalTrials.gov. Randomized trials evaluating ultrasound-guided PIVC insertion against the landmark approach in pediatric patients who reported at least 1 outcome of success rate (first attempt or overall) were included. Methodological quality of the literature was assessed using the Revised Cochrane risk-of-bias tool for randomized trials. A meta-analysis using a random-effects model was performed.

Results: Nine studies with 1350 patients, from a total of 1033 studies, were included for analysis. Ultrasound showed a statistically significant improvement in PIVC insertion success on first attempt in 5 of 8 studies, with an overall success rate of 78% in the ultrasound group and 66% in the control group. The secondary outcome of overall success was improved by ultrasound in studies that allowed ≥3 attempts (pooled OR 3.57, 95% CI 2.05 to 6.21, P < .001, I2 = 0.0%).

Conclusions: This systematic review suggested that ultrasound improves pediatric PIVC first pass and overall success rates. Subgroup analysis showed improvement in PIVC success rates for patients with difficult intravenous access and a single operator, dynamic, short-axis ultrasound technique.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intravenous
  • Catheterization, Peripheral* / methods
  • Catheters
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Ultrasonography