Vascular access in first week of life
You’re seeing a 5 day old with a fever of 39. Attempts to get IV access have been unsuccessful. The child is alert and not toxic appearing, but you’d like to get empiric antibiotics started within the first hour of evaluation. What are your options other than drilling with an IO or embarking on a potentially long sweaty frustrating attempt at a central line in a neonate? An ultrasound-guided peripheral line is one possibility if you have the skills.
Another vascular access method to keep in mind is the umbilical venous line – the umbilical vein can stay patent up to 7-10 days of life! Soak the dry cord in saline soaked gauze to soften it, use a scalpel to cut straight across at 1-2cm from the base, look for the single large vein, insert a pre-flushed catheter with gentle pressure into the vein while pulling back on a syringe until you see a flash of blood.
For more info: https://blogs.brown.edu/emergency-medicine-residency/emergent-umbilical-venous-catheter-uvc-placement/
The “Fast-cath” technique advocates using a 14 gauge angiocath http://www.emsworld.com/article/10852257/paramedic-umbilical-vein-catheterization-for-newborns
Find resources for born out of asepsis babies on our algorithms page, including how to make umbilical venous catheter mini kits to keep in your ED.