Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Health Sciences (M.H.S.)

Degree Program

Biomedical Sciences


BACKGROUND: When emergent intravenous access is not available an intraosseous (IO) infusion is performed. To accurately perform an IO infusion, the healthcare provider must precisely palpate and identify the associated anatomical landmark for placement. A thicker layer of subcutaneous tissue over the insertion site can make this process difficult, leading to an increased risk of misplacement. PURPOSE: To relate the subcutaneous tissue depth with body mass index (BMI) and percent body fat in order to better understand IO placement sites in relation to these body composition factors. SUBJECTS: Male and female unembalmed cadavers (n=22) between the ages of 54-95 years old were provided by the Willed Body Program in association with Michigan State University, College of Human Medicine, in Grand Rapids, MI. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Subcutaneous tissue depth was measured by the insertion of a taper gauge into the skin over six IO infusion sites. Five bilateral skinfold measurements per cadaver were taken using a Lange skinfold caliper to obtain body density which was then converted into percent body fat. BMI was calculated from the cadavers height and weight which was supplied by the Willed Body Program. RESULTS: Both BMI and percent body fat demonstrated positive correlations with subcutaneous tissue depth at all sites. Using the Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test, it was observed that embalmed cadavers had significantly larger subcutaneous tissue depth at all sites (p = 0.0313) except the distal radius (p = 0.0625). CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated that an increase of subcutaneous tissue depth correlates with increased BMI and percent body fat. When assessing where to place an IO infusion, sites with the least amount of subcutaneous tissue should be considered first, with consideration of injuries and contraindications.