Nonphysician placement of arterial catheters. Experience with 500 insertions

Chest. 1993 Dec;104(6):1716-7. doi: 10.1378/chest.104.6.1716.


To improve availability of arterial line placement, we developed a nonphysician protocol for respiratory therapists to insert arterial catheters. In our experience with more than 500 catheter insertions, in which placement lasted from 1 to 20 days, superficial infection occurred in 5 percent of patients and a major complication occurred in only 1 patient. These results show that specially trained nonphysician personnel can insert arterial catheters safely when following a protocol. Similar reallocation of existing resources should increase patient care while decreasing patient care cost in most settings.

MeSH terms

  • Allied Health Personnel*
  • Catheterization, Peripheral* / adverse effects
  • Femoral Artery
  • Humans
  • Radial Artery
  • Respiratory Therapy