UMEM Educational Pearls

Intraosseous (IO) placement is a rapid and reliable method for obtaining venous access in critically ill patients; previous studies demonstrated that everything from vasopressors to packed RBCs can be infused through it.

This prospective observational study compared the first-pass success rate and time to successful placement of IO versus landmark-based (i.e., not ultrasound guided) central-line placement (femoral or subclavian access) during medical emergencies (e.g., cardiac arrest) in an inpatient population.

The first pass success rate for IO was found to be significantly higher than the landmark technique (90% vs. 38%) and placement was significantly faster for IOs (1.2 vs. 10.7 minutes).

Despite the fact that this study did not directly compare IO to ultrasound guided line placement, this study demonstrates that IO is a rapid and effective means to obtain central access during patients with emergent medical conditions.

Bottom-line: Consider placing an IO line when rapid central access is necessary.