How Often Should a Peripheral IV Cannula be Restarted?

Peripheral Intravenous (IV) cannulation is a common procedure used to administer medications, fluids, or blood products directly into a patient’s veins. While IV cannulas are an essential tool in healthcare, the question often arises as to how frequently they should be restarted to minimize complications and maintain patient safety.

The Importance of IV Cannula Maintenance

IV cannulas are typically inserted for short-term use, ranging from a few hours to a few days. However, their longevity can be affected by multiple factors such as patient discomfort, infiltration, phlebitis, or the development of blood clots. Restarting an IV cannula refers to the removal and subsequent reinsertion of the device into a new venipuncture site.

While there is no universally agreed-upon timeframe for restarting peripheral IV cannulas, healthcare professionals must prioritize patient comfort and safety while considering the following factors:

  • Assessment of Insertion Site: Regular inspection of the insertion site can help identify early signs of complications. If there are signs of redness, swelling, or tenderness, restarting the IV cannula may be necessary.
  • Duration of IV Therapy: If the intended duration of therapy exceeds 72-96 hours, it is recommended to restart the IV cannula to minimize the risk of complications.
  • Flow Rate and Medication Type: Certain medications or fluids may have corrosive properties or cause phlebitis. If the IV cannula is used for high-flow medications or irritating substances, restarting might be necessary periodically.
  • Patient’s Condition: Patients with compromised immune systems, history of catheter-related infections, or increased risk of infection may require more frequent restarts to reduce the chances of bloodstream infections.

Best Practices for Restarting Peripheral IV Cannulae

Restarting an IV cannula should only be performed by trained healthcare professionals to ensure proper technique and minimize the risk of complications. Here are some best practices to consider:

  • Infection Control Measures: Adhering to strict aseptic techniques during insertion and restarting is crucial to prevent healthcare-associated infections.
  • Choosing Appropriate Vein and Site: Selecting the most suitable vein and site for cannula insertion during restart can help maintain cannula patency and minimize discomfort.
  • Assessment of Blood Return: Prior to restarting, healthcare providers should check for blood return to ensure proper cannula placement within the vein.
  • Securing the Cannula: Ensuring the IV cannula is properly secured using a transparent dressing or securement device can prevent accidental dislodgment.


In summary, the frequency of restarting a peripheral IV cannula depends on various factors. Regular inspection of the insertion site, duration of therapy, medication type, and patient-specific factors are essential considerations when making the decision. It is vital for healthcare professionals to follow best practices during cannula insertion and restarts to minimize complications and promote patient well-being.

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