Cannulation is mainly done to gain venous access in patients. The access provides for several things such as administration of medicines, foods, other fluids, parenteral nutrition, and even chemotherapy in cancer patients. A cannula is a tube that is inserted into one of the veins in the body, using a fine needle. Although this procedure can be done in many body parts, it is usually done on the other side of the palm. The Nasal cannula is a piece of respiratory equipment - a lightweight tube placed in the nostrils to deliver oxygen from an oxygen tank.

1. How long can cannulas be kept inserted?

A cannula can be kept inserted in your veins up to a maximum of 72 hours after which it should be either removed or replaced. However, for more extended periods of cannulation, some measures can be taken to take care of the cannulation site.

Sterile gloves should be worn by the nurse while performing cannulation to reduce infection risks.

• Infected areas are avoided because a cannula in the site can spread the infection into the bloodstream

• For protection purposes, often, a transparent dressing is placed on the site to check the development of an allergic reaction or infection.

2. What if the cannula hurts?

Insertions are not always successful. To prepare yourself for the worst, you must know this – your cannula, if troublesome, may cause bruises and clots. The cannulation site is changed in case of first-time failure or any issue at the procedure site. Keeping a check, twice a day, on the place where the cannula is inserted is essential. It necessarily needs to be noted that there are no signs of redness, soreness, or inflammation. If any of these are noticed, your nurse should be informed immediately, and the cannula needs to be changed!

3. What are the vital cannula care measures?

Besides being careful during insertion, there are other essential care measures. For instance, during the administration of an intravenous drug, the cannula should be flushed thoroughly. For flushing generally, sodium chloride is used to ensure that there is no blockage in the vessel. Second, irrespective of the presence of any infection or abnormality like irritation or redness, the cannula should be changed every 72 hours. Using it for long periods can cause infections! When the cannula is required for an extensive period, the buttonhole technique, also called "constant-site cannulation", is used. Only two sites are chosen, and insertions are made in precisely the same spots at exactly the same angle using blunt needles instead of sharper ones to avoid changing the track. This ensures less pain and swelling of the arteries or veins.

4. What are the possible cannula complications that you might face?

Some possible failures (listed below) are associated with the process of cannulation. An awareness could help patients cope with the situation without panicking and stressing themselves!

• Failure to detect the correct cannula site

• Any irritation or signs of infection that has gone unnoticed

• A faulty insertion of the cannula into an inappropriate vessel

• Failure to remove the cannula even when the irritation or infection is noticed

• Extravasation injury might occur for which no amount of measures can be taken.

5. Can a regular shower be taken with a cannula done?

With cannulas, patients can generally take a shower and clean themselves as long as the connectors don't get disrupted or the insertion does not hurt.

Unless medications are to be taken via the intravenous way at home, patients do not arrive home with a cannula. Your nurse or medical professional safely removes it before leaving the hospital. In the case of self-cannulation, you must receive proper training for the procedure!