IV Cannula Procedure – A Step-by-Step Guide

IV cannulation is a common medical procedure used to administer fluids, medications, and blood products directly into a patient’s bloodstream. It involves the insertion of a hollow plastic tube, known as a cannula, into a patient’s vein. This video blog post will guide you through the entire IV cannula procedure, providing you with a detailed step-by-step process.


Before starting the IV cannula procedure, it is essential to gather all the necessary materials. This includes a sterile IV cannula, alcohol swabs, gloves, transparent dressing, sterile saline solution, and an IV pole. Additionally, ensure that the patient is in a comfortable position and the chosen vein is easily accessible.

Step 1: Hand Hygiene and Gloves

Prior to the procedure, perform hand hygiene by washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Once your hands are clean, put on a pair of sterile gloves.

Step 2: Vein Selection and Preparation

Identify a suitable vein for cannulation. Common sites include the forearm, hand, or antecubital area. Gently clean the selected area with an alcohol swab to disinfect it.

Step 3: Local Anesthesia (optional)

If necessary, use an anesthetic spray or lidocaine to numb the insertion site. This step is particularly helpful for patients who are anxious or have sensitive skin.

Step 4: Vein Stabilization

Stabilize the vein by applying gentle traction just below the insertion site. This prevents the vein from rolling and makes the cannulation process easier.

Step 5: Cannula Insertion

Hold the cannula with a bevel-up technique, at approximately a 15 to 30-degree angle. Slowly insert the needle through the skin and into the selected vein. Look for a flash of blood in the cannula’s flashback chamber to indicate successful placement.

Step 6: Needle Removal and Cannula Securement

Once the cannula is in place, remove the needle carefully while keeping the cannula stable. Apply gentle pressure to the insertion site with a sterile gauze pad to control any bleeding. Secure the cannula in place with adhesive tape or a transparent dressing.

Step 7: Flushing and Connection to IV Line

Flush the newly inserted cannula with a sterile saline solution to ensure it is patent and free from any clots or obstructions. Once flushed, connect the cannula to the IV line and adjust the flow rate as prescribed by the healthcare provider.

Step 8: Documentation

Finally, document the entire procedure in the patient’s medical record. Be sure to include details such as the date, time, size of the inserted cannula, and any relevant observations or patient responses.

Tips and Considerations

  • Always follow the recommended infection control guidelines during the procedure.
  • Ensure proper disposal of used sharps and contaminated materials.
  • Monitor the infusion site regularly to identify any signs of complications, such as infection or infiltration.
  • Communicate with the patient throughout the procedure to provide reassurance and minimize discomfort.

With proper training and practice, the IV cannula procedure becomes a routine and efficient process. Remember to always seek guidance from a healthcare professional and adhere to your institution’s policies and protocols.

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