Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Use of Ultrasonography to Verify Umbilical Venous Catheter Placement in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Literature dating back to 1982 supports the use of ultrasound to confirm UVC position as a more reliable method compared to x-ray. The use of ultrasound to confirm UVC position remains infrequent in the NICU.


To determine the feasibility of training an NNP in the acquisition and interpretation of a parasternal short-axis (PSAX) image of the heart to confirm UVC position.


A retrospective review of 48 charts evaluated descriptive data using standard technique of an x-ray to confirm UVC placement. An NNP was trained to acquire and interpret a parasternal short-axis (PSAX) cardiac view by a pediatric cardiologist. The NNP independently and prospectively evaluated 21 neonates and determined whether the UVC was in satisfactory or unsatisfactory position. The same image was blindly over-read by the pediatric cardiologist. Agreement between the NNP and pediatric cardiologist interpretations as well as the pediatric cardiologist and radiologist interpretations was evaluated using the κ-test.


Initial pediatric cardiology interpretation of UVC position showed the UVC to be malpositioned in 66% of neonates (n = 14). NNP and pediatric cardiology interpretations in UVC position had 86% agreement (κ-0.667). Pediatric cardiology (ultrasound) and radiology interpretations (x-ray) in UVC position had 86% agreement (κ-0.69).

Implications for practice

It is feasible to train NNPs to perform and accurately interpret a single PSAX ultrasound image to determine satisfactory UVC position.

Implications for research

Increasing the use of ultrasound to determine satisfactory position of UVCs in the NICU can reduce unnecessary exposure to ionizing radiation in neonates.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Mele, R; Panesar, LE; Heyden, M; Sridhar, S; Brandon, D

Published Date

  • August 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 20 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 294 - 300

PubMed ID

  • 32735412

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1536-0911

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1536-0903

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/anc.0000000000000708


  • eng