Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Standard bone marrow needles or special needles for intraosseous access
  1. Simon Carley,
  2. Russel Boyd
  1. Department of Emergency Medicine, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9WL, UK
  1. Correspondence to: Kevin Mackway-Jones, Consultant (kevin.mackway-jones{at}

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Report by Simon Carley, Specialist Registrar Search checked by Russel Boyd, Consultant

Clinical scenario

A 5 year old shocked child is presented to the emergency department via ambulance. Intravenous access is not possible and you decide to place an intraosseous needle. You find that the trolley has been stocked with standard bone marrow aspiration needles rather than the special intraosseous (IO) needles that you are used to. You swear loudly and eventually gain access with great difficulty using a cutdown technique. You later wonder whether you could have used the standard bone marrow needle instead.

Three part question

[In patients requiring IO access] are [specifically designed IO needles better than standard bone marrow aspiration needles] at [obtaining safe and speedy IO access]?

Search strategy

Medline 1966–01/01 using the OVID interface. [(exp infusions, intraosseous OR AND (exp bone marrow OR bone OR biopsy, needle OR] LIMIT to human AND english AND abstracts.

Search outcome

Altogether 75 papers found of which 74 were irrelevant or of insufficient quality. The remaining paper is shown in table 4.

Table 4


The standard type of bone marrow aspiration needle appears to be better than the Cook IO needle in this study. However, the model is a poor one for clinical practice. Currently specific IO needles are more expensive than the standard bone marrow aspiration needle.

Clinical bottom line

Standard bone marrow aspiration needles should be used for IO infusion.

Report by Simon Carley, Specialist Registrar Search checked by Russel Boyd, Consultant