ACADEMIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE 2011; 18:966–971 © 2011 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine


Objectives:  Peripheral intravenous catheter (PIV) placement is a common, painful, and frequently difficult procedure in children. The VeinViewer is a device that delineates subcutaneous veins using near-infrared light and video technology. To the best of our knowledge, the benefit of this device for PIV placement in children in the emergency department (ED) has not been studied.

Methods:  The authors enrolled a prospective, randomized sample of children aged 0 to 17 years who required a nonemergent PIV in a tertiary care pediatric ED. Participants were randomized to standard PIV cannulation (SC) or PIV cannulation with the VeinViewer (VV). The primary outcome measure was time to PIV placement. Secondary outcome measures included number of PIV attempts and pain scores as reported by the child, parent or guardian, and nurse using a 100-mm visual analog scale (VAS).

Results:  A total of 323 patients completed the study: 174 boys and 149 girls. Age, sex, and body mass index (BMI) were not different between groups. There were no differences in time to PIV placement, number of PIV attempts, or pain scores for the overall study group. However, a planned subgroup analysis of children age 0 to 2 years (n = 107) did yield significant results for the geometric mean time to place the PIV (121 seconds [VV] vs. 167 seconds [SC], p = 0.047) and for nurses’ perception of pain (median VAS 34 [VV] vs. 46 [SC], p = 0.01).

Conclusions:  While no results were significant for the overall study group, subgroup analysis of children age 0 to 2 years suggests that the VeinViewer may decrease the time to PIV placement.