Ultrasound-guided nerve blocks in emergency medicine practice

Richard Amini, Jeffrey Z. Kartchner, Arun Nagdev, Srikar Adhikari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Objectives - The purpose of this study was to investigate the current practice of ultrasound (US)-guided regional anesthesia at academic emergency departments, including education, protocols, policies, and quality assessment. Methods - We conducted a cross-sectional study. A questionnaire on US-guided nerve blocks was electronically sent to all emergency US directors and emergency US fellowship directors. Results - A total of 121 of 171 academic institutions with an emergency medicine residency program participated in this study, representing a 71% response rate. Eighty-four percent (95% confidence interval [CI], 77%-91%) of programs perform US-guided nerve blocks at their institutions. The most common type of nerve block performed is a forearm nerve block (ulnar, median, or radial). The most common indication for USguided nerve blocks is fracture pain management. Only 7% (95% CI, 2%-12%) of programs have a separate credentialing pathway for US-guided nerve blocks. Regarding quality assessment review of US-guided nerve blocks, none of the programs have a separate program in place. In 57% (95% CI, 48%-66%) of programs, it is a component of the emergency US quality assessment program. Eighty-four percent (95% CI, 77%-90%) of programs do not have specific agreements with other specialty services with regard to performing US-guided nerve blocks in the emergency department. The most common educational methods used to teach US-guided nerve blocks are didactic sessions, at 67% (95% CI, 59%-75%); online resources, at 54% (95% CI, 45%-63%); and supervised training with real patients, at 48% (95% CI, 39%-57%). Conclusions - Ultrasound-guided nerve blocks are performed at most academic emergency departments. However, there is a substantial variation in the practices and policies within these institutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)731-736
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Ultrasound in Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Emergency medicine
  • Emergency ultrasound
  • Nerve blocks
  • Residents
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Ultrasound-guided nerve blocks in emergency medicine practice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this