What is Peripheral IV Cannula?

A peripheral intravenous (IV) cannula is a small, flexible tube inserted into a peripheral vein to deliver medication, fluids, or draw blood for testing. It is one of the most common invasive medical devices used in hospitals and clinics. The primary purpose of a peripheral IV cannula is to provide access to the circulatory system without the need for more invasive procedures like central venous catheterization.

The design of a peripheral IV cannula includes a plastic catheter and a hollow needle. The needle pierces the skin and the catheter is then threaded through the needle and into the vein. Once the catheter is in place, the needle is removed, leaving the catheter inside the vein.

Advantages of Peripheral IV Cannula

Peripheral IV cannulas have several advantages:

  • Easy and quick insertion: Peripheral IV cannulas can be inserted by trained healthcare professionals in a matter of minutes.
  • Reduced risk of complications: Compared to more invasive procedures, peripheral IV cannulas have lower risks of infection, bleeding, and damage to vital structures.
  • Flexibility: Peripheral IV cannulas can be used for a wide range of medical purposes, including medication administration, fluid resuscitation, and blood transfusions.
  • Patient comfort: Once inserted, peripheral IV cannulas are generally more comfortable for patients compared to other alternatives.

Uses of Peripheral IV Cannula

Peripheral IV cannulas are utilized in various medical situations:

  1. Medication administration: IV medications can be delivered directly into the bloodstream using a peripheral IV cannula.
  2. Fluid resuscitation: Patients who require fluid replacement can receive intravenous fluids through a peripheral IV cannula.
  3. Emergency situations: In emergency cases, peripheral IV cannulas can quickly provide access for medications and fluids.
  4. Blood transfusions: Peripheral IV cannulas are commonly used for the transfusion of blood or blood products.
  5. Blood sampling: Healthcare professionals can easily draw blood samples from peripheral IV cannulas for diagnostic testing.

Complications and Risks

While peripheral IV cannulas are generally considered safe, complications can occur. Common complications include:

  • Infiltration: This occurs when the IV fluid or medication leaks into the surrounding tissue instead of entering the bloodstream.
  • Phlebitis: Phlebitis is the inflammation of the vein where the peripheral IV cannula is inserted, often causing discomfort and redness.
  • Thrombophlebitis: Thrombophlebitis is the inflammation of a vein with the presence of a blood clot.
  • Infection: Although the risk is low, infections may develop at the cannula insertion site.


Peripheral IV cannulas are essential medical devices used for a range of purposes, including medication administration, fluid resuscitation, and blood transfusions. They provide quick and relatively low-risk access to the circulatory system, improving patient comfort and treatment outcomes. However, healthcare professionals should be aware of potential complications and take appropriate measures to minimize risks.

Remember to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized information and guidance related to peripheral IV cannulas.

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