Peripheral venous catheters (PVC) are devices that are inserted intravenously usually inserted into the veins of the forearm, the hand and occasionally the lower limbs of patients. They are used to administer intravenous fluids, drugs, blood products. Peripheral cannula is recommended for short term therapy of 3-5 days (RCN 2016). Alternative vascular access devises should be considered for longer term therapy.



This policy outlines measures that shall be implemented to reduce the risk of infectious and non-infectious complications in any adult with a PVC. Therefore, a Peripheral Cannula Insertion Pack must be used when inserting a PVC. The exception being an emergency situation, or the cannula is sited for a short duration procedure and then promptly removed.



Intravascular catheter-related infections are systemic infections which have a vascular access device (VAD) catheter as the source. Every year in the UK an estimated 6,000 patients develop a catheter-related blood stream infection (CR-BSI) (Elliot, 2001). The infections are associated with a high morbidity and mortality, particularly in hospitalised patients.

Catheter Related Blood Stream Infection’s (CRB-SI’s) are caused by micro-organsims, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermis. These organisms found on the patient’s skin contaminate the catheter during insertion, or migrate along the catheter track. Contaminated fluids and equipment, cross infection and colonised hands are also factors implicated in catheter related infection.


Policy Details

Download: PDF version
Compiled by: Ann Birler, Nurse Consultant, Infection Prevention and Control
Ratified by: Clinical Governance Committee
Date Ratified: June 2019
Date Issued: July 2019
Review Date: May 2021
Target Audience: All trust staff involved in IV care
Contact name: The Infection Control Team


See also: