Ultrasound evaluation of saphenous vein for peripheral intravenous cannulation in adults

Travis Jones, Nicholas Stea, Uwe Stolz, Srikar Adhikari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objectives: The objective of this study was to investigate variables that may affect sonographic cannulation of great saphenous vein and determine the ideal location for ultrasound-guided saphenous vein cannulation in adult emergency department (ED) patients. Methods: A prospective observational study at an academic ED. The great saphenous vein was identified in adult subjects at three distinct sites after placing the tourniquet proximal to the vein: the ankle, mid-calf, and below the knee using a 10-5 MHz linear transducer. The depth of the saphenous vein from the skin surface and its diameter were measured in supine and reverse trendelenburg positions in both extremities. Results: A total of 60 subjects (male 30, female 30) were enrolled in the study. The median age of the patients was 50.5 years [interquartile range (IQR) 34.5-67.5]. The median body mass index (BMI) was 27.3 (IQR, 24.2-31.8). The great saphenous vein was significantly superficial in location at the ankle level compared with the calf (p<0.001), knee (p<0.001), and left side compared with the right (p<0.001). The subject position was not significantly related to saphenous vein depth (p = 0.68). The saphenous vein diameter was significantly larger in the left lower extremity than the right side (p = 0.007), and at the ankle level compared with the calf (p<0.001) and knee (p<0.001). The diameter of the vein increased significantly when patient’s position changed from supine to reverse Trendelenburg (p<0.001). Conclusions: Our results support ultrasound evaluation of the course of great saphenous vein from the ankle to the knee for the selection of appropriate venipuncture site and cannulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)418-421
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Vascular Access
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2015


  • Bedside ultrasound
  • Cannulation
  • Great saphenous vein
  • Peripheral intravenous
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Nephrology


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