IV Cannula Complications in the UK

IV cannulas are a common medical device used for administering fluids, medication, or blood products directly into a patient’s bloodstream. Although they are widely used and considered safe, complications can occur. In this blog post, we will explore some of the common complications associated with IV cannulas in the UK.

1. Infection

One of the most significant complications of IV cannulas is the risk of infection. Improper insertion technique, poor hygiene, or inadequate maintenance of the cannula site can lead to local infections or systemic infections such as bloodstream infections.

2. Phlebitis

Phlebitis, which refers to the inflammation of a vein, is another potential complication. It can occur due to mechanical irritation from the cannula, chemical irritants within the administered fluids, or bacterial contamination.

3. Infiltration

Infiltration happens when the infused fluid leaks into the surrounding tissue instead of entering the vein. It can result from dislodgement of the cannula, incorrect positioning, or weak vessel integrity. Infiltration can cause pain, swelling, and tissue damage.

4. Extravasation

Similar to infiltration, extravasation occurs when a vesicant solution, such as certain medications, leaks into the surrounding tissue. This causes local tissue damage and can lead to serious complications, especially if not promptly identified and managed.

5. Thrombophlebitis

Thrombophlebitis is the inflammation of a vein, often accompanied by the formation of a blood clot. It can occur due to prolonged cannula use, irritation of the vein wall, or certain medications. Thrombophlebitis can be painful and may lead to further complications if the clot travels to other parts of the body.

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