Potential benefits and possible risks associated with ultrasound guidance compared with traditional palpation for radial artery catheterization are not fully understood.
We searched PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane Library through July 2015 to identify randomized controlled trials that evaluated ultrasound guidance compared with traditional palpation for radial artery catheterization. The primary outcome was first-attempt failure. Secondary outcomes included mean attempts to success, mean time to success, and hematoma complications. Random-effects model was used to estimate relative risks (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
Twelve trials used dynamic two-dimensional (2D) ultrasound guidance (N = 1,992), and two used Doppler ultrasound guidance (N = 666). Compared with traditional palpation, dynamic 2D ultrasound guidance was associated with a reduced first-attempt failure (RR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.52–0.87). Trial sequential analysis showed that the cumulative Z-curve crossed the trial sequential monitoring boundary for benefit establishing sufficient and conclusive evidence. Dynamic 2D ultrasound guidance further reduced mean attempts to success, mean time to success, and hematoma complications. No evidence of publication bias was detected. Compared with traditional palpation, Doppler ultrasound guidance had no benefit on first-attempt failure (RR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.87–1.15), which was confirmed by trial sequential analysis as the cumulative Z-curve entered the futility area.
The use of dynamic 2D ultrasound guidance for radial artery catheterization decreases first-attempt failure, mean attempts to success, mean time to success, and the occurrence of hematoma complications. Dynamic 2D ultrasound guidance is recommended as an adjunct to aid radial arterial catheterization.