IV Cannula Types: A Comprehensive Guide

IV cannulas, also known as intravenous catheters, are essential medical devices used to administer fluids, medication, and blood products directly into a patient’s vein. These small tubes have a range of sizes and designs to meet various clinical needs. In this blog post, we will explore the different types of IV cannulas and their uses, helping you gain a comprehensive understanding of this important medical tool.

1. Peripheral IV Cannula

The peripheral IV cannula is the most common and widely used type. It is inserted into a peripheral vein, typically in the arm, and is used for short-term treatments. The cannula is usually made of plastic and has a flexible catheter with a needle or without a needle.

2. Central IV Cannula

The central IV cannula, also known as a central venous catheter, is a longer catheter that reaches a larger central vein, such as the subclavian or jugular vein. This type is used for long-term treatments, administration of highly concentrated medications, or when frequent blood sampling is required.

3. Midline IV Cannula

The midline IV cannula is a longer catheter, typically inserted in the upper arm and advanced towards the axillary vein. It is used for medium-term treatments and is suitable for patients who require extended intravenous therapies but don’t need a central line.

4. Winged IV Cannula

The winged IV cannula, also known as a butterfly needle, is a shorter and smaller catheter that is connected to flexible wings. It is often used for pediatric patients or adults with small veins. The wings allow for better control during insertion.

5. Safety IV Cannula

Safety IV cannulas have a specialized design to minimize the risk of needlestick injuries. These types often feature retractable needles or needle shields that deploy after use, reducing the chances of accidental needle pricks.

6. Extension Set IV Cannula

The extension set IV cannula is not a standalone cannula but rather an attachment connected to the intravenous system. It provides additional length and access points, facilitating medication administration and blood withdrawal.

7. Over-the-needle IV Cannula

Over-the-needle IV cannulas consist of a needle and catheter that are inserted together into the vein. Once the needle is removed, the catheter remains in place. This type is commonly used in emergency situations due to its ease and speed of insertion.

8. Through-the-needle IV Cannula

Through-the-needle IV cannulas have a smaller catheter that is inserted through the lumen of a larger needle. This type allows for continuous infusion of fluids or medications through a single needle, reducing the number of punctures required.


IV cannulas are indispensable tools in the medical field. They come in various types and sizes to suit different patient needs and treatment durations. Choosing the appropriate IV cannula type is crucial for ensuring effective and safe administration of fluids and medications. By familiarizing yourself with the different types of IV cannulas discussed in this guide, you can make informed decisions and provide better care for your patients.

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