Intraosseous infusion in elective and emergency pediatric anesthesia: when should we use it?

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Purpose of review

Difficulties to establish a venous access may also occur in routine pediatric anesthesia and lead to hazardous situations. Intraosseous infusion is a well tolerated and reliable but rarely used alternative technique in this setting.

Recent findings

According to recent surveys, severe complications of intraosseous infusion stay a rare event. Minor complications and problems in getting an intraosseous infusion started on the other side seem to be more common than generally announced. The EZ-IO intraosseous infusion system has received expanded EU CE mark approval for an extended dwell time of up to 72 h and for insertion in pediatric patients in the distal femur. Key values of blood samples for laboratory analysis can be obtained with only 2 ml of blood/marrow waste and do also offer reliable values using an I-Stat point-of-care analyzer.


Most problems in using an intraosseous infusion are provider-dependent. In pediatric anesthesia, the perioperative setting should further contribute to reduce these problems. Nevertheless, regular training, thorough anatomical knowledge and prompt availability especially in the pediatric age group are paramount to get a seldom used technique work properly under pressure. More longitudinal data on large cohorts were preferable to further support the safety of the intraosseous infusion technique in pediatric patients.

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