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Education  |   May 2014
Images in Anesthesiology: Radial Artery Spasm in an Infant as Documented by High-frequency Micro-ultrasound
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Gregory J. Latham, M.D.
    From the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle, Washington (G.J.L.).
  • Adrian T. Bosenberg, M.B., Ch.B., F.F.A.(S.A.)
    From the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle, Washington (G.J.L.).
  • Daniel K. Low, M.B.B.S.
    From the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle, Washington (G.J.L.).
  • This work has been presented as an abstract/poster at the annual meeting of Society for Pediatric Anesthesia, March 14–17, 2013, Las Vegas, Nevada.
    This work has been presented as an abstract/poster at the annual meeting of Society for Pediatric Anesthesia, March 14–17, 2013, Las Vegas, Nevada.×
  • Address correspondence to Dr. Latham: gregory.latham@seattlechildrens.org
Article Information
Education / Images in Anesthesiology / Central and Peripheral Nervous Systems / Pediatric Anesthesia / Radiological and Other Imaging
Education   |   May 2014
Images in Anesthesiology: Radial Artery Spasm in an Infant as Documented by High-frequency Micro-ultrasound
Anesthesiology 05 2014, Vol.120, 1254. doi:10.1097/ALN.0b013e31828f4fdf
Anesthesiology 05 2014, Vol.120, 1254. doi:10.1097/ALN.0b013e31828f4fdf
HIGH-frequency micro-ultrasound is a new, preclinical technology that utilizes higher frequencies compared to conventional ultrasound. During a feasibility trial using high-frequency micro-ultrasound for vascular access in children, radial artery spasm in an 8-month-old male child was uniquely documented with a 50-MHz probe. The intraluminal diameter before attempted cannulation was 2.1 mm (fig. A) and was 0.4 mm afterward (fig. B), which explains why the 0.38-mm diameter guide-wire could not be advanced into the vessel in spasm.
The radial artery contains a high density of α-1 adrenoceptors and is more susceptible to spasm compared to many other arteries.1  The occurrence of spasm after successful cannulation can be directly treated with intraarterial administration of a vasodilator, such as nitroglycerine or verapamil.2  However, when arterial spasm occurs before successful cannulation of the artery, subsequent cannulation may be impossible, as our picture shows. When this occurs, three choices remain: choose a new site for cannulation, wait for the spasm to resolve if access is required in that artery, or treat the arteriospasm. Treatment of arteriospasm to facilitate cannulation of the segment in spasm is not well studied.3  Reported treatment options include systemic administration of a vasodilator, with the risk of systemic hypotension, and subcutaneous periarterial administration of nitroglycerin, with or without local anesthetic.3  Subcutaneous nitroglycerine can be effective in rapidly reestablishing a palpable radial pulse,3  and ultrasound may aid in evaluating the extent of vessel in spasm and relaxation of spasm after treatment.
Acknowledgments
The authors gratefully acknowledge Qinglin Ma (SonoSite, Bothell, Washington) for her considerable time and support with the ultrasound equipment.
SonoSite loaned the equipment for the study but had no other involvement in the study.
Competing Interests
The authors declare no competing interests.
References
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Ho, HH, Jafary, FH, Ong, PJ Radial artery spasm during transradial cardiac catheterization and percutaneous coronary intervention: Incidence, predisposing factors, prevention, and management.. Cardiovasc Revasc Med. (2012). 13 193–5 [Article] [PubMed]
Pancholy, SB, Coppola, J, Patel, T Subcutaneous administration of nitroglycerin to facilitate radial artery cannulation.. Catheter Cardiovasc Interv. (2006). 68 389–91 [Article] [PubMed]