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01.12.2017 | Original article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

The Ultrasound Journal 1/2017

A randomised crossover study to compare the cross-sectional and longitudinal approaches to ultrasound-guided peripheral venepuncture in a model

The Ultrasound Journal > Ausgabe 1/2017
James Griffiths, Amadeus Carnegie, Richard Kendall, Rajeev Madan
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s13089-017-0064-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Ultrasound-guided peripheral intravenous access may present an alternative to central or intraosseous access in patients with difficult peripheral veins. Using venepuncture of a phantom model as a proxy, we investigated whether novice ultrasound users should adopt a cross-sectional or longitudinal approach when learning to access peripheral veins under ultrasound guidance. This result would inform the development of a structured training method for this procedure.


We conducted a randomised controlled trial of 30 medical students. Subjects received 35 min of training, then attempted to aspirate 1 ml of synthetic blood from a deep vein in a training model under ultrasound guidance. Subjects attempted both the cross-sectional and longitudinal approaches. Group 1 used cross-sectional first, followed by longitudinal. Group 2 used longitudinal first, then cross-sectional. We measured the time from first puncture of the model’s skin to aspiration of fluid, and the number of attempts required. Subjects also reported difficulty ratings for each approach. Paired sample t-tests were used for statistical analysis.


The mean number of attempts was 1.13 using the cross-sectional approach, compared with 1.30 using the longitudinal approach (p = 0.17). Mean time to aspiration of fluid was 45.1 s using the cross-sectional approach and 52.8 s using the longitudinal approach (p = 0.43). The mean difficulty score out of 10 was 3.97 for the cross-sectional approach and 3.93 for the longitudinal approach (p = 0.95).


We found no significant difference in effectiveness between the cross-sectional and longitudinal approaches to ultrasound-guided venepuncture when performed on a model. We believe that both approaches should be included when teaching ultrasound-guided peripheral vascular access. To confirm which approach would be best in clinical practice, we advocate future testing of both approaches on patients.
Additional file 1. Blue Phantom ultrasound model.
Additional file 2. Cross-sectional ultrasound image of needle in phantom.
Additional file 3. Longitudinal ultrasound image of needle in phantom.
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