Preliminary experience with epidural and perineural catheter localization with pulsed wave Doppler ultrasonography

Hesham Elsharkawy, Theresa Barnes, Rovnat Babazade, Maria Huarte, Wael Ali Sakr Esa, Brian M. Ilfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Various methods for peripheral nerve and epidural catheter location assessment exist, with varying degrees of ease of use, utility, and accuracy. Pulsed wave Doppler (PWD) evaluates the presence of fluid flow and is possible modality to assess the location of a percutaneously inserted perineural catheter. Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted in which PWD ultrasonography was used to confirm the position of nerve catheters for regional anesthesia. Data was collected to assess 24-hour postoperative pain scores, opioid consumption, complications, and the incidence of catheter replacement. Results: Eighty-six patients were included; average age was 58 years and a 27% incidence of chronic pain. These catheters were left in place based on the PWD images. Three catheters failed and a total of 16 catheters were repositioned. In the first 24 hours average pain scores ranges between 3.5 to 5.9 and median postoperative opioid consumption range was 11.3 mg to 60.8 mg. For epidural catheters, PWD changes were more obvious with air injection and there was only one episode of hemodynamic instability. Conclusions: Our preliminary experience with PWD ultrasonography suggests that they may offer the ability to selectively assess flow at different locations to identify the proper location of epidural and perineural catheters. Future randomized, controlled investigations are warranted to further evaluate the effectiveness and safety of this modality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)803-810
Number of pages8
JournalMinerva Anestesiologica
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2018


  • Nerve block
  • Ultrasonography
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, pulsed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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