To critically review the evidence for the selection and insertion of pediatric vascular access devices (VADs).
Data were sourced from the US National Library of Medicine, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health, the Cochrane Library databases, Embase, and international clinical trial databases.
Clinical practice guidelines, systematic reviews, cohort designs, randomized control trials (RCTs), quasi RCTs, before-after trials, or case-control studies that reported on complications and/or risk as well as reliability of VADs in patients aged 0 to 18 years were included.
Articles were independently reviewed to extract and summarize details on the number of patients and catheters, population, age of participants, VAD type, study method, indication, comparators, and the frequency of VAD failure or complications.
VAD selection and insertion decision-making in general hospitalized and some specialized patient populations were well evidenced. The use of single-lumen devices and ultrasound-guided techniques was also broadly supported. There was a lack of RCTs, and for neonates, cardiac patients, patients with difficult venous access, midline catheters, catheter-to-vein ratio, and near-infrared devices, the lack of evidence necessitated broadening the review scope.
Limitations include the lack of formal assessment of the quality of evidence and the lack of RCTs and systematic reviews. Consequently, clinical decision-making in certain pediatric populations is not guided by strong, evidence-based recommendations.
This is the first synthesis of available evidence for the selection and insertion of VADs in pediatric patients and is important for determining the appropriateness of VADs in pediatric patients.

Copyright © 2020 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.