Subcutaneous lidocaine does not affect the success rate of intravenous access in children less than 24 months of age

Acad Emerg Med. 1996 Nov;3(11):1016-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1553-2712.1996.tb03345.x.


Objective: To determine whether subcutaneous lidocaine (SQL), when used to decrease the pain of IV catheter insertion, adversely affects IV access in children < 24 months of age.

Methods: A historically controlled comparison of IV access successes with and without SQL in children < 2 years of age was performed in a 30,000-annual-visit community hospital ED. On-site data collected at the time of IV placement included: patient age, weight, hydration status, number of attempts, and location of attempts. All patients had IV attempts made by the same emergency physician.

Results: A total of 110 children, mean age 9.6 +/- 6.9 months, were included in the study analysis. Of the 110, 70 had an IV catheter placed with no pretreatment, while 40 had SQL pretreatment. The average number of attempts for all patients was 1.36 +/- 0.73, with 83 (75%) performed successfully in 1 attempt and 101 (91%) within 2 attempts. The mean numbers of attempts were similar for the control and SQL groups: 1.34 vs 1.40, respectively (p = 0.68), as were the proportions successful in 1 attempt (77% vs 73%; p = 0.58) and within 2 attempts (91% vs 90%; p = 0.84).

Conclusion: SQL use prior to an IV attempt in children < 2 years of age does not impact vascular access. A secondary finding was that vascular access with and without SQL in infants and small children generally can be accomplished in 1 attempt.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Anesthetics, Local / administration & dosage*
  • Catheterization, Peripheral / methods*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Lidocaine / administration & dosage*
  • Pain / prevention & control*


  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Lidocaine