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Comparative evaluation of the efficacy of using monocular, binocular and panoramic night vision goggles in successful venous access in darkness

Abstract

Introduction The use of night vision goggles (NVGs) by medical staff operating in active combat areas may present a tactical advantage in maintaining unit concealment. This study seeks to assess the degree to which NVG use improves speed and ease of intravenous access in comparison to no NVG use, and which NVG system (monocular, binocular or panoramic) provides the best conditions for the clinician.

Methods Cannulation was carried out using both eyes open (BEO) and one eye open (OEO) in well-lit conditions to establish a baseline measurement. The same procedure was then performed with a variety of NVGs, with and without infrared (IR) light sources in a dark room, and the degree of difficulty, time to procedural completion and success rate were compared.

Results NVG use improved procedure speed in comparison to the BEO method in the dark. Among the NVG methods trialled, binocular NVG (BNVG) methods outperformed panoramic NVG (PNVG) and monocular NVG in terms of success rate.

Conclusions Use of BNVG resulted with a better success rate in our study. We would like to emphasise that although combatant units prefer PNVGs for the wider temporal vision they provide, it must be kept in mind that this may pose a disadvantage in peripheral vascular access procedures while providing first aid to the casualty at close distances.

  • binocular
  • darkness
  • intravenous access
  • monocular
  • night vision goggles
  • panoramic
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