The feasibility of 12-gauge intravenous catheter use in the prehospital setting

John A. Guisto, Kenneth V. Iserson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Intravenous fluid therapy is a mainstay in the treatment of trauma and hypovolemia. However, controversy exists as to its effective use by prehospital personnel. We reasoned that 12-gauge catheters, shown to have significantly greater fluid flow than 14- or 16-gauge catheters, might allow prehospital care providers to have a more significant role in patient resuscitation. This study was designed to see if 12-gauge intravenous catheters can successfully be placed and used in the prehospital care arena. During a six-month period, commercial peripheral 12-gauge catheter-over-needle intravenous units were placed in any hypovolemic or potentially hypovolemic patient in whom paramedics thought that rapid fluid therapy was, or might become, necessary. They experienced an overall success rate of 84 % and a success-per-attempt rate of 74 %. The catheters were placed under normal field conditions. Per preexisting protocols, departure from the scene and transport to the hospital were not delayed for any paramedic interventions, including starting intravenous lines. The 12-gauge catheters can be successfully used by paramedics, both to establish large bore intravenous access prior to arrival at the emergency department and to institute effective fluid therapy where time and circumstances allow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-176
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1990


  • fluid resuscitation
  • intravenous
  • prehospital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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