How to Remove an IV Cannula


An intravenous (IV) cannula is a small, flexible tube inserted into a patient’s vein to administer medication, fluids, or to collect blood samples. After completing the required medical procedures, the removal of the IV cannula is a crucial but delicate task. This article will guide you on how to remove an IV cannula safely and effectively, minimizing discomfort and reducing the risk of complications.

Step 1: Prepare the essential tools

Before removing the IV cannula, gather the necessary supplies:

  • Gloves (sterile and non-sterile)
  • Gauze pads
  • Adhesive bandage or transparent dressing
  • Alcohol swabs
  • Sharps container

Step 2: Wash your hands and put on gloves

Prior to removing the IV cannula, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Once your hands are clean, put on a pair of sterile gloves to maintain a sterile environment.

Step 3: Assess the insertion site

Closely examine the patient’s skin around the IV cannula insertion site. Look for any signs of infection (e.g., redness, swelling, warmth) or complications (e.g., phlebitis, infiltration). If any problems are observed, consult a medical professional before proceeding with removal.

Step 4: Stabilize the cannula

Gently stabilize the cannula close to the entry point, using one hand to secure the surrounding skin. This will prevent unnecessary movement or pain during the removal process.

Step 5: Loosen the adhesive

Carefully loosen the adhesive on the cannula dressing by gently lifting the edges. If the dressing is firmly attached, apply a small amount of adhesive remover or sterile water to aid in loosening the adhesive.

Step 6: Remove the IV cannula

While maintaining a stable hand position, slowly and steadily withdraw the cannula from the vein in the same direction it was inserted. Maintain constant pressure to avoid any sudden movement that may traumatize the vein or cause pain to the patient.

Step 7: Apply direct pressure and secure the site

Once the cannula is removed, apply direct pressure to the site with a sterile gauze pad to control any bleeding. Ensure the patient keeps their arm straight and elevate if necessary. Once bleeding has stopped, cover the site with an adhesive bandage or transparent dressing.

Step 8: Dispose of sharps and clean up

Place the used IV cannula and other sharps in a designated sharps container. Safely discard any other used supplies. Remove your gloves and dispose of them appropriately. Wash your hands again thoroughly.

Step 9: Document the procedure

It is important to document the IV cannula removal in the patient’s medical record. Note any observations, complications, or patient feedback during the process.


Properly removing an IV cannula is a vital procedure that should be done with care to ensure patient comfort and safety. By following these steps, healthcare professionals can effectively remove an IV cannula, promoting successful patient recovery and minimizing complications.

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