Peripheral Intravenous Cannulation – A Comprehensive Guide


Peripheral intravenous cannulation is a critical skill that healthcare professionals must master. It involves the insertion of a cannula into a peripheral vein to deliver fluids, medication, or draw blood for analysis. This blog post will provide a comprehensive guide on peripheral intravenous cannulation, covering the procedure, indications, complications, and essential nursing considerations.

1. The Procedure:

The peripheral intravenous cannulation procedure involves several steps:

  1. Gather necessary equipment:
    • Cannula (size may vary depending on the patient’s condition)
    • IV solution
    • Tourniquet
    • Gloves
    • Alcohol swabs
  2. Prepare the patient:
    • Explain the procedure to the patient and gain their consent
    • Select a suitable vein
    • Ensure patient comfort and proper positioning
  3. Cleanse and prepare the site:
    • Apply gloves
    • Place the tourniquet above the desired insertion site
    • Cleanse the area with an alcohol swab
  4. Insert the cannula:
    • Hold the skin taut and insert the cannula bevel-up at a 15-30 degree angle
    • Once blood appears in the flashback chamber, decrease the angle and advance the cannula further into the vein
    • Secure the cannula in place with tape or a transparent dressing
  5. Connect the IV tubing and administer fluids/medication.
  6. Secure and document:
    • Ensure the cannula is properly secured and well-dressed
    • Document the insertion site, date, time, and any relevant observations

2. Indications for Peripheral Intravenous Cannulation:

Peripheral intravenous cannulation is commonly indicated in the following scenarios:

  1. Administration of fluids:
    • Hydration therapy
    • Blood transfusion
    • Medication administration
  2. Monitor and obtain blood samples:
    • Laboratory investigations
    • Blood cultures
  3. Elderly or chronically ill patients requiring long-term medication administration
  4. Emergency situations where immediate venous access is necessary.

3. Complications and Troubleshooting:

While peripheral intravenous cannulation is generally safe, complications may occur. It is important to be aware of potential issues and troubleshoot accordingly. Some common complications include:

  1. Phlebitis or inflammation of the vein
  2. Infiltration or extravasation
  3. Infection
  4. Catheter occlusion
  5. Bruising or hematoma formation

4. Nursing Considerations:

When performing peripheral intravenous cannulation, nurses should consider the following:

  1. Assessing and selecting appropriate veins
  2. Correctly sizing the cannula based on the patient’s age, condition, and the intended purpose
  3. Proper aseptic technique to prevent infection
  4. Ongoing assessment for complications and prompt intervention if necessary
  5. Ensuring patient comfort and providing emotional support


Peripheral intravenous cannulation is a fundamental skill for healthcare professionals. This comprehensive guide has provided an overview of the procedure, indications, complications, and essential nursing considerations. By following the proper technique and considering the unique needs of each patient, healthcare providers can ensure the success and safety of peripheral intravenous cannulation.

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