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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Ultrasound Guidance for Central Venous Access by Emergency Physicians in Colorado


Introduction: To survey emergency physicians (EP) regarding the frequency of use of ultrasound guidance for placement of central venous catheters (UGCVC) and to assess their perceptions regarding the technique and barriers to its implementation.

Methods: A 25-question Web-based survey was e-mailed to all members of the Colorado chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians with a listed e-mail address. A total of 3 reminderswere sent to nonresponders.

Results: Responses were received from 116 out of 330 invitations. Ninety-seven percent (n¼112) of respondents indicated they have an ultrasound machine available in their emergency department, and 78% indicated they use UGCVC. Seventy-seven percent (n ¼ 90) agreed with the statement, ‘‘Ultrasound guidance is the preferred method for central venous catheter placement in the emergencydepartment.’’ However, 23% of respondents stated they have received no specific training in UGCVC. Twenty-six percent (n ¼28) of respondents stated they felt ‘‘uncomfortable’’ or ‘‘very uncomfortable’’with UGCVC, and 47% cite lack of training in UGCVC as a barrier to performing the technique.

Conclusion: Although the majority of surveyed EPs feel UGCVC is a valuable technique and do perform it, a significant percentage reported receiving no training in the procedure and also reported being uncomfortable performing it. Nearly half of those surveyed cited lack of training as a barrier to more widespread implementation of UGCVC. This suggests that there continues to be a need for education and training of EPs in UGCVC. [West J Emerg Med. 2012;13(4):320–325.]


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