FUJIFILM SonoSite Inc, Bothell, Wash, a specialist in bedside and point-of-care ultrasound, highlights new patient safety data achieved by Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals Inc (TJUH), a 957-bed academic medical center in Philadelphia.

Arthur Au, MD, a clinical instructor at Jefferson Medical College and an emergency medicine physician at TJUH presented new data from an internal ultrasound-guidance study at the 2011 American College of Emergency Physicians conference.

TJUH had a goal to determine if the number of central venous catheter (CVC) placements could be reduced or replaced with a safer alternative—ultrasound-guided peripheral intravenous (USGPIV)—in patients with difficult IV access.

With more than five million CVC lines placed in US hospitals per year, CVC placements are risky procedures and are typically performed by inserting a large catheter into one of the patient’s major vessels.

It conducted the study in two urban emergency departments utilizing SonoSite’s M-Turbo ultrasound systems and the results showed that 85% of the time USGPIVs eliminated the need for the placement of CVCs in patients with difficult IV access. Assuming the standard CVC complication rate of approximately 15%, it was determined that in this group alone, the use of USGPIVs would reduce complication rates to 2.25%, which would significantly reduce health care costs in the emergency department.

The results were reported online ahead of print July 12, 2012 in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.