UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Critical Care

Title: Ultrasound Guided Radial Arterial Lines

Keywords: Arterial Line, Ultrasound (PubMed Search)

Posted: 1/17/2017 by Rory Spiegel, MD (Updated: 6/16/2024)
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It is not uncommon for critically ill patients to require invasive monitoring of their blood pressure. In these patients, radial arterial lines are often inserted. Traditionally these lines are placed using palpation of the radial pulse. This technique can lead to unacceptably high failure rate in the hypotensive patient commonly encountered in the Emergency Department.

A recent meta-analysis by Gu et al demonstrated the use of dynamic US to assist in the placement of radial arterial lines decreased the rate of first attempt failure, time to line insertion and the number of adverse events associated with insertion.


Gu WJ, Wu XD, Wang F, Ma ZL, Gu XP. Ultrasound Guidance Facilitates Radial Artery Catheterization: A Meta-analysis with Trial Sequential Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Chest. 2016;149(1):166-79.