Intraosseous Access EZ-IO in a Prehospital Emergency Service

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Several scientific and professional associations have made reports and recommendations to regulate the use of intraosseous (IO) access as an alternative to conventional intravenous access (IA) in emergency situations when IA cannot be obtained. It has been well documented that IO access is safe and effective for fluid resuscitation, drug delivery, and blood collection. IO access is attainable in all age groups.


The objective of this prospective study was to test the use of a semi-automatic IO infusion system (EZ-IO) as an alternative to vascular access in critical patients treated in a prehospital emergency setting.


This prospective, cross-sectional study included patients who required immediate peripheral vascular access. This study was performed by reviewing clinical records and through a questionnaire (created by and for nurses who perform the insertion with the EZ-IO).


During the study period we identified 107 patients who underwent EZ-IO insertion (114 insertions were performed). Patients were predominantly male (66%) and middle aged (mean age 56 years; range 3-94). Overall, insertion was performed via the proximal tibia (49.4%) distal tibia (25.2%), radius (14.9%), and humerus (10.5%). During the study period, 14 insertions were performed in 2007, 44 in 2008, and 56 in 2009. A majority of patients (50.9%) had medical cardiac arrest, (25.4%) were injured trauma patients, and 12.3% had traumatic cardiac arrest. All patients were transported to a hospital with 2 sites of peripheral vascular access. The first site of access in these patients was IO (100% of cases) and the second site (in 79% of cases) was peripheral intravenous access. All EZ-IO insertions were achieved within 30 seconds and were successful upon the first attempt.


The use of the EZ-IO provides a quick (100% performed within 30 seconds), easy, and reliable alternative to conventional venous access in critically ill patients. Traditional peripheral venous access requires a minimal preparation that can delay initial treatment in critically ill patients and cause possible interference with resuscitation. The main advantage of using EZ-IO is to obtain secure, immediate, noncollapsible peripheral venous access in critically ill patients. It is possible to obtain a second site of access such as peripheral venous access to administer fluids and drugs, which can improve survival rates.

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