Objective: To evaluate the effect of real-time ultrasound guidance using a regular or Doppler ultrasound technique for placement of central venous catheters.
Data sources: We searched for published and unpublished research using MEDLINE, citation review of relevant primary and review articles, conference abstracts, personal files, and contact with expert informants.
Study selection: From a pool of 208 randomized, controlled trials of venous and arterial catheter management, eight published randomized, controlled trials were identified.
Data extraction: In duplicate, independently, we abstracted data on the population, intervention, outcome, and methodologic quality.
Data synthesis: Ultrasound guidance significantly decreases internal jugular and subclavian catheter placement failure (relative risk 0.32; 95% confidence interval 0.18 to 0.55), decreases complications during catheter placement (relative risk 0.22; 95% confidence interval 0.10 to 0.45), and decreases the need for multiple catheter placement attempts (relative risk 0.60; 95% confidence interval 0.45 to 0.79) when compared with the standard landmark placement technique.
Conclusions: When used for vessel location and catheter placement real-time, ultrasound guidance or Doppler ultrasound guidance improves success rates and decreases the complications associated with internal jugular and subclavian venous catheter placement.