Prehospital peripheral intravenous vascular access success rates in children

Lucas A. Myers, Grace M. Arteaga, Logan J. Kolb, Christine M. Lohse, Christopher S. Russi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objective. Achieving successful peripheral intravenous (PIV) vascular access in children can be difficult. In the prehospital setting, opportunities are rare. Obtaining access becomes vital in emergent and life-threating conditions, such as seizures, hypoglycemia, and cardiac arrest. This study examines prehospital pediatric PIV attempts, success rates, and the impact of patient age. Methods. This was a retrospective chart review of patients aged 18 years or younger receiving prehospital PIV attempts from January 1, 2003, through May 31, 2011. Included cases were identified by querying electronic patient care reports for PIV attempts within the specified age range. The documentation of PIV attempts and successes was reported by emergency medical service providers. This study was approved by an institutional review board. Results. Throughout the 101-month study period, there were 261,008 ambulance responses. PIV attempts were made in 4188 patients aged 18 years or younger. PIV placement was successful in 3699 patients (88.3%) and failed in 489 (11.7%). Age was significantly associated with success. Each 1-year increase in age was associated with an 11% increase in odds of PIV success (odds ratio, 1.11; 95% CI, 1.09-1.12; p < 0.001). Success was lowest in patients younger than 2 years old, with an overall success rate of 64.1% (141/220). Accounting for multiple attempts, success was achieved in 53.0% of attempts (141/266). Conclusions. Prehospital PIV attempts are uncommon (2% of emergent responses). Success rates are significantly associated with patient age in the pediatric population and lowest in those aged 2 years or less. Consideration of alternative forms of vascular access in this population may be beneficial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-428
Number of pages4
JournalPrehospital Emergency Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • ambulance
  • emergency medical services
  • intraosseous
  • intravenous
  • pediatric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency


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