Transillumination by light-emitting diode facilitates peripheral venous cannulations in infants and small children


Nobuaki Shime
Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care
University Hospital
Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine
465 Kajii-cho, Kamigyo-ku
Kyoto 602-0841


Background: Transillumination facilitates the visualization of peripheral veins in infants and children. The clinical usefulness of light-emitting diode (LED)-powered devices has not been thoroughly studied.

Methods: We randomly assigned 136 infants and children weighing <15 kg, undergoing general anesthesia, to red LED-powered transillumination (TM group, n=67) vs. the usual method (UM group, n=69) of peripheral venous cannulations. Venous puncture was performed following anesthesia induction with sevoflurane and nitrous oxide. The primary and secondary study endpoints were the rate of successful cannulations at initial attempt, and the duration of insertion attempts, respectively.

Results: The median score of the estimated cannulation difficulty before attempted puncture was similar in both groups. The success rates at first attempt were 75% and 61% (NS) and mean±SD times to successful venous access were 47±34 and 68±66 s (NS) in the TM and UM groups, respectively. The cannulation procedures were completed significantly earlier in the TM group than in the UM group (hazard ratio, 1.59; 95% confidence interval, 1.03–2.47; P=0.03). In the subgroup of infants and children <2 years old, venous cannulation was successful at first attempt in 73% and 49% in the TM group (n=44) and in the UM group (n=47), respectively (P=0.03).

Conclusions: LED-powered transillumination devices facilitated peripheral venous cannulations in small infants and children.