Peripheral IV Cannulation Procedure – A Comprehensive Guide

In the medical field, peripheral intravenous (IV) cannulation is a common procedure used to administer medications, fluids, and blood products directly into a patient’s bloodstream. This technique involves inserting a small plastic catheter into a peripheral vein, such as those found in the hands, arms, or feet. A thorough understanding of the peripheral IV cannulation procedure is essential for healthcare professionals to ensure safe and effective patient care.

Preparation and Assessment

Prior to performing a peripheral IV cannulation, healthcare professionals need to gather the necessary equipment and ensure proper patient assessment. This includes assessing the patient’s medical history, allergies, and existing IV lines, as well as selecting an appropriate site for cannulation.

Once the patient assessment is complete, the healthcare professional should wash their hands thoroughly, put on gloves, and gather the required supplies, including a tourniquet, antiseptic solution, sterile IV catheter, securement device, and IV tubing with an infusion set.


1. Explain the procedure to the patient: It’s crucial to obtain informed consent and provide clear information about the peripheral IV cannulation procedure to the patient, ensuring they are comfortable with the process.

2. Position the patient: To facilitate easy access to the selected site, position the patient appropriately, usually with the limb extended and supported.

3. Apply the tourniquet: Locate a suitable vein and apply the tourniquet proximal to the intended cannulation site. This helps engorge the vein, making it easier to insert the catheter.

4. Prepare the site: Cleanse the intended cannulation site with an antiseptic solution, ensuring aseptic technique is followed to minimize the risk of infection.

5. Secure the vein: Using your non-dominant hand, apply gentle traction below the intended cannulation site, stabilizing the vein and minimizing its mobility.

6. Insert the catheter: Hold the sterile IV catheter at a shallow angle (between 10 and 30 degrees) with the bevel facing upwards. Insert the catheter into the vein while maintaining control of the needle until blood return is observed in the flashback chamber.

7. Advance and secure the catheter: Once blood return is confirmed, advance the catheter slightly further into the vein, followed by removing the stylet or needle while stabilizing the catheter. Then, secure the catheter with an appropriate securement device.

8. Connect the IV tubing: Connect the IV tubing with the infusion set to the catheter hub, ensuring a tight connection.

Complications and Troubleshooting

Despite being a routine procedure, peripheral IV cannulations can be associated with certain complications. Some common complications may include:

  • Infiltration: Leakage of fluid or medication into the surrounding tissues.
  • Phlebitis: Inflammation of the vein, which can lead to pain, redness, and swelling.
  • Thrombophlebitis: Inflammation of the vein, accompanied by the formation of a blood clot.
  • Infection: Entry of microorganisms into the bloodstream, causing local or systemic infection.

However, these complications can often be prevented or minimized by following proper technique, using aseptic precautions, and regular assessment of the IV site. If complications arise, prompt intervention should be initiated.


Peripheral IV cannulation is a vital procedure commonly performed in healthcare settings. By following the proper techniques, healthcare professionals can ensure a successful procedure with minimal complications. It is essential to continuously assess the IV site for complications and promptly address any issues that arise. Providing high-quality care during peripheral IV cannulation contributes to improved patient outcomes and satisfaction.

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