A technique for ultrasound-guided blood sampling from a dry and gel-free puncture area

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Vein punctures are performed daily to sample blood. Ultrasound (US) offers an alternative to the blind landmark technique for difficult vascular access. A challenge for this procedure is the presence of US gel in the puncture area. We present a technique for US-guided puncture from extremity veins not palpable or visible to the human eye, while keeping the puncture area dry and gel-free.


Ten healthy volunteers underwent two US-guided vein punctures from veins that were neither palpable nor visible. One was drawn from an antebrachial vein and another from a brachial vein. A sterile barrier drape was made from a commercially available dressing and a piece of transparent sterile plastic. The barrier drape consists of an adhesive part placed on the skin designed for sonography and a free transparent flap constituting the barrier between the unsterile sonographic site and the sterile gel-free puncture site.


The success rate for vein puncture was 100% in both locations. A total of 22 skin punctures were performed (11 antebrachial and 11 brachial). Gain output was increased 7% (4-12%), and 8% (4-15%), respectively, to compensate for attenuation of the US signal due to the drape. Alignment of the centre of the transducer with the long-axis of the target vein during the procedure was reported as a challenge.


US-guided blood sampling from a brachial and antebrachial vein was possible with a 100% success rate, while ensuring a dry and gel-free venipuncture area on one side and the transducer on the other side of a sterile barrier.

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