IV Cannulation Procedure Step by Step

Inserting an intravenous (IV) cannula is a critical skill for healthcare professionals. This procedure allows the administration of fluids, medication, and blood products directly into a patient’s vein. Proper technique is essential to ensure patient safety and minimize complications. In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of performing IV cannulation.

Step 1: Preparation

Begin by gathering all the necessary materials:

  • IV cannula of appropriate size
  • IV infusion set
  • Antiseptic solution
  • Gloves and mask
  • Tourniquet
  • Cotton balls or gauze
  • Securement device
  • Transparent dressing

Step 2: Patient Assessment

Assess the patient’s veins to choose an appropriate insertion site. Look for visible and palpable veins, preferably in the lower arm or hand. Consider any contraindications for certain sites, such as previous surgeries or phlebitis. Engage the patient in the decision-making process and obtain informed consent.

Step 3: Hand Hygiene

Perform hand hygiene by washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. This step reduces the risk of introducing pathogens into the patient’s bloodstream.

Step 4: Applying Tourniquet

Select an appropriate-sized tourniquet and place it about 3-4 inches (8-10 cm) above the intended insertion site. Tighten the tourniquet until venous distention occurs.

Step 5: Vein Selection and Assessment

Assess the patient’s veins again and choose the most suitable vein for cannulation. Look for a straight, non-tortuous vein that feels resilient and has a good blood return upon palpation. Avoid veins over joints or areas with thrombosis or infiltration signs.

Step 6: Sterilization

Put on gloves and cleanse the selected insertion site using an antiseptic solution, starting from the center and moving outward in a circular motion. Allow the site to dry completely before proceeding.

Step 7: Cannula Insertion

Hold the IV cannula with the bevel up, at a 15-30-degree angle to the skin. Insert the cannula gently and smoothly into the vein. Watch for a flash of blood in the flashback chamber and advance the cannula another 1-2 mm before withdrawing the needle.

Step 8: Securement and Dressing

Stabilize the cannula by applying a securement device, ensuring it does not obstruct the insertion site. Cover the site with a transparent dressing, leaving the hub and insertion site visible. Label the dressing with date, time, and your initials.

Step 9: Flushing and Connecting

Attach the IV infusion set to the cannula hub and flush the line with an appropriate solution to confirm patency. Then, connect the IV tubing to the infusion set and start administering the prescribed fluids or medications.

Step 10: Documentation

Record the procedure, including site selection, complications, and patient’s tolerance. Document the type and size of the inserted cannula, the date, and time. Proper documentation ensures continuity of care and patient safety.

Remember, IV cannulation should only be performed by trained healthcare professionals. Regular practice and ongoing education are crucial for maintaining proficiency.

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