Provider Practice Essentials registered nurse continuing education

Needle Decompression: Size Matters

Needle decompression

What Size Needle Should You Use?

At a recent course this past weekend, we were asked which size needle should you use while performing a needle decompression procedure. The automatic response was large bore needle…typically 14-gauge angiocatheter. But that is only half the answer! What about catheter length? The standard 14-g angiocath is 5cm long and its catheter is only 4.5cm long. This was causing concern about a high failure rate. With the primary source of procedure failure being a failure of the needle to reach the pleural space, the standard angiocath would only reach the pleural space in 53% of the population.

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