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Ott 08, 2021

Placement of a cannula needle: indications and tips

The placement of a cannula needle is a procedure that takes a few minutes, but needs a careful evaluation in the choice of the insertion site, to obtain effective results from the therapy.

There are several factors that can affect: age, diagnosis, the patient's venous heritage, the type of therapy and its duration, the presence of any comorbidities and much more.

In this article, let's take a look at what the INS guidelines provide on choosing an insertion site and some tips to keep in mind when positioning a cannula needle.

Placement of a cannula needle: choice of insertion site

The INS guidelines provide useful indications regarding the choice of insertion site for peripheral venous catheters, distinguishing between adult and pediatric patients.

In the first case, placement on the forearm is recommended to prolong the dwell time and increase the likelihood of the PIVC lasting the full length of the prescribed therapy. In addition, such positioning is associated with:

  • less discomfort for the patient;
  • easier self-care;
  • lower incidence of dislocation and occlusion.

Eventually, other veins on the dorsal and ventral surfaces of the upper extremities, including metacarpal, cephalic, basilic, and median veins, may also be considered. Hand veins may also be considered for short-term therapy (e.g., less than 24 hours), or the internal jugular vein for emergency situations (when other veins cannot be accessed).

In pediatric patients, however, guidelines recommend avoiding the antecubital fossa, which has a higher failure rate. Veins in the hand, forearm and, if the child is not yet walking, the foot may be considered. In infants, scalp veins may also be used as a last resort, while hands, fingers and thumbs should be avoided.

Tips for positioning a cannula needle

An article published in Nurseslabs proposed several tips for positioning a cannula needle, from the preliminary steps of the procedure to the final ones.

Among the considerations, for example, it is remembered to pay attention to the veins of elderly and pediatric patients, which are smaller and more fragile than those of adults. Probably the most visible and safe veins are in the hands, but it is important to stabilize the cannula needle well, as children like to gestate, while the elderly are prone to falls.

Other tips we report below are:

  • in case of difficulty inserting the catheter into a vein with prominent valves, connect the cannula to a primed extension tubing and gently flush the tubing with normal saline via a syringe while advancing the catheter;
  • if the vein is bifurcated, you should access below the bifurcation to have a better chance of successful cannulation of the vein.

To learn more, you can view the full article here. You may also be interested in the following insights from our blog on this topic:


Delta Med cannula needles
are entirely designed and manufactured in Italy and allow to limit human error, ensuring maximum effectiveness.

Available in different models and sizes, depending on the needs, they are practical to use and comfortable for the patient. To find out more, discover the different types in the IV Catheters section or contact us here for more information from one of our professionals.

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