Spectral tissue sensing to identify intra-and extravascular needle placement - A randomized single-blind controlled trial

Andrea J. R. Balthasar*, Geert-Jan van Geffen, Marjolein van der Voort, Gerald W. Lucassen, Stefan Roggeveen, Ivar J. Bruaset, Joergen Bruhn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Safe vascular access is a prerequisite for intravenous drug admission. Discrimination between intra-and extravascular needle position is essential for procedure safety. Spectral tissue sensing (STS), based on optical spectroscopy, can provide tissue information directly from the needle tip. The primary objective of the trial was to investigate if STS can reliably discriminate intra-vascular (venous) from non-vascular punctures. In 20 healthy volunteers, a needle with an STS stylet was inserted, and measurements were performed for two intended locations: the first was subcutaneous, while the second location was randomly selected as either subcutaneous or intravenous. The needle position was assessed using ultrasound (US) and aspiration. The operators who collected the data from the spectral device were blinded to the insertion and ultrasonographic visualization procedure and the physician was blinded to the spectral data. Following offline spectral analysis, a prediction of intravascular or subcutaneous needle placement was made and compared with the "true" needle tip position as indicated by US and aspiration. Data for 19 volunteers were included in the analysis. Six out of 8 intended vascular needle placements were defined as intravascular according to US and aspiration. The remaining two intended vascular needle placements were negative for aspiration. For the other 11 final needle locations, the needle was clearly subcutaneous according to US examination and no blood was aspirated. The MannWhitney U test yielded a p-value of 0.012 for the between-group comparison. The differences between extra-and intravascular were in the within-group comparison computed with the Wilcoxon signed-rank test was a p-value of 0.022. In conclusion, STS is a promising method for discriminating between intravascular and extravascular needle placement. The information provided by this method may complement current methods for detecting an intravascular needle position.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0172662
Number of pages13
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2017


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