New study compares infraclavicular catheter placement guided by ultrasound versus nerve stimulation

Anaesthesia. 2016 Feb;71(2):198-204.

A randomised comparison between ultrasound and nerve stimulation for infraclavicular catheter placement.

Dhir S, Armstrong K, Armstrong P, Bouzari A, Mall J, Yu J, Ganapathy S (Professor Emeritus), King G.


We conducted this study to determine if placement of infraclavicular catheters guided by ultrasound is quicker than placement guided by nerve stimulation. Infraclavicular brachial plexus catheters were inserted in 210 randomly allocated patients who were scheduled for elective hand or elbow surgery. Needle and catheter placement was guided by ultrasound (n = 105) or by nerve stimulation (n = 105). The primary outcome was time to sensory block success. Success rate was similar between the two techniques (83.2% vs 81.4%, p = 0.738). However, placement of ultrasound-guided catheters took less time (7.2 [2.5] vs 9.6 [3.6] min, p < 0 .001). Pain and satisfaction scores, and incidence of nerve deficit, were also similar with both techniques.

© 2015 The Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland.

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