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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 64  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 167-168  

Ultrasound-guided peripheral artery cannulation: A priority, not an option

Department of Neuroanaesthesiology and Critical Care, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission26-Sep-2019
Date of Acceptance08-Oct-2019
Date of Web Publication4-Feb-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ankur Khandelwal
Department of Neuroanaesthesiology and Critical Care, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi - 110 029
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ija.IJA_730_19

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How to cite this article:
Sokhal N, Khandelwal A, Sokhal S, Chaturvedi A. Ultrasound-guided peripheral artery cannulation: A priority, not an option. Indian J Anaesth 2020;64:167-8

How to cite this URL:
Sokhal N, Khandelwal A, Sokhal S, Chaturvedi A. Ultrasound-guided peripheral artery cannulation: A priority, not an option. Indian J Anaesth [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 May 26];64:167-8. Available from:


Cannulation of peripheral artery for beat-to-beat blood pressure (BP) monitoring, frequent arterial blood gas analysis, and guiding fluid therapy is an indispensable component of intraoperative neurosurgical anaesthesia, especially, for vascular pathologies.[1] Arteries that are commonly cannulated include the radial artery in the upper limb and the dorsalis pedis artery in the lower limb. The advantages of radial artery cannulation include its superficial location, easy compressibility, distance from important nerves, presence of a collateral supply network, low rate of procedural complications, and unrestricted mobility of the patient.[2],[3] Classically, radial artery cannulation is performed by digital palpation method at the volar aspect of the wrist. However, due to anatomical variations, cannulation by landmark technique may not always be successful.[4] Ostojić and colleagues reported a frequency of anatomic variations of radial artery as high as 8.8%, exclusive of tortuosities with a frequency of 12.7%.[5] Moreover, the risk of haematoma formation after puncture cannot be excluded in case of failed cannulation. As the rate of successful cannulation increases significantly by ultrasound technique; it has now become the standard of care.

We report a case of a 53-year-old female posted for excision of right frontal meningioma. In the operating room, after induction of general anaesthesia, we planned to cannulate the right radial artery under ultrasound (US) guidance. When we kept the linear probe (7.5 MHz-11 MHz) at the volar aspect of the wrist along the lateral border, we could visualise two pulsating structures in short axis view [Figure 1]a. Upon tracing it proximally, both pulsating structures merged into a single pulsating structure or radial artery which was thereafter successfully cannulated in longitudinal axis with a 22 G arterial cannula [Figure 1]b. This anatomical variation per se has not been reported in literature. Through this correspondence, we want to emphasize that due to such anatomical variations, cannulation of radial artery by landmark approach can fail due to multiple reasons. These include being mislead by localisation of artery by palpation due to pulsation at two different sites, and branching arteries are narrower than the parent artery. Further, the course of branching arteries may be tortuous leading to difficult threading of cannula after puncture. Thus, US guided arterial cannulation identifies such anatomical variations easily and at the same time improves the rate of successful cannulation.
Figure 1: (a) Ultrasound image in short axis showing two pulsating arteries. (b) Pictorial representation of anatomical variation in radial artery

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There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Scheer B, Perel A, Pfeiffer UJ. Clinical review: Complications and risk factors of peripheral arterial catheters used for haemodynamic monitoring in anaesthesia and intensive care medicine. Crit Care 2002;6:199-204.  Back to cited text no. 1
Brzezinski M, Luisetti T, London MJ. Radial artery cannulation: A comprehensive review of recent anatomic and physiologic investigations. Anesth Analg 2009;109:1763-81.  Back to cited text no. 2
Lakhal K, Robert-Edan V. Invasive monitoring of blood pressure: A radiant future for brachial artery as an alternative to radial artery catheterisation? J Thorac Dis 2017;9:4812-6.  Back to cited text no. 3
Haładaj R, Wysiadecki G, Dudkiewicz Z, Polguj M, Topol M. The high origin of the radial artery (Brachioradial Artery): Its anatomical variations, clinical significance, and contribution to the blood supply of the hand. Biomed Res Int 2018;2018:1520929.  Back to cited text no. 4
Ostojić Z, Bulum J, Ernst A, Strozzi M, Marić-Bešić K. Frequency of radial artery anatomic variations in patients undergoing transradial heart catheterization. Acta Clin Croat 2015;54:65-72.  Back to cited text no. 5


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