Impact of intravenous access site on attenuation for thoracic computed tomographic angiography: A time-matched, nested, case-control study

Michael A. Winkler, Connor Woodward, Timothy R. Spencer, Martin Halicek, Weibo Fu, Frank Appiah, Mohamed Issa, Driss Raissi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The objective of this study was to evaluate whether the choice of intravenous access (IVA) site affects aortic attenuation during thoracic computed tomographic angiography (T-CTA) and any associated risks with intravenous device placement. Methods: All T-CTA exams performed between 1/1/2013 and 8/14/2015 were retrospectively reviewed to identify those performed with contrast media injection via alternative (i.e. non-antecubital) IVA (n = 1769). Using time matching, antecubital IVA exams (n = 1769) were selected as controls. For each exam, attenuation was measured in the ascending aorta. Patient and technical data was subsequently collected from all 3538 patients included in this study. Multiple linear regression was used to determine if IVA site affected attenuation. Lastly, data related to extravasations for the entire T-CTA cohort were collected and compared. Results: Hand/wrist, arm, and central venous access device IVA were all equivalent to antecubital IVA in terms of attenuation (P = 0.579, P = 0.599, and P = 0.522 respectively). Forearm and intraosseous IVA had significantly higher attenuation (P = 0.010 and P = 0.002, respectively) than antecubital IVA. Right-sided IVA was associated with a small attenuation increase of 11 Hounsfield Units (P < 0.001) compared to left-sided IVA. In terms of extravasation, antecubital IVA was equivalent to hand/wrist, forearm, and upper arm IVA (P = 0.778, P = 0.060, and P = 0.090 respectively). Conclusions: Satisfactory aortic attenuation achieved with non-antecubital IVA is equivalent to attenuation achieved with antecubital IVA for T-CTA imaging. The risk of contrast media extravasation in peripheral IVA devices was relatively low, however, appropriate IVA site selection should be considered an important factor for successful administration of contrast media for future imaging studies. This prevents undue harm to patients through preventable device failures when using a peripheral IV device in areas of high flexion/range of movements undergoing pressure injection for contrast media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)683-688
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Vascular Access
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Intravenous access
  • attenuation
  • computed tomography
  • contrast
  • extravasation
  • patient safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Nephrology


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