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Intravenous cannula safety device


Clinical bottom line

Use of a safety version of an intravenous cannula insertion needle led to no needlestick injuries and less blood contamination.


T Asai et al. Prevention of needle-stick injury. Efficacy of a safeguarded intravenous cannula. Anaesthesia 1999 54: 258-261.


This study randomised patients scheduled for elective surgery in whom an intravenous infusion was needed to a conventional intravenous cannula (Insyte) or a safety cannula (Insyte Auto Guard). Exclusions were patients with blood-borne infections, bleeding disorder, or pathology of hand or arm.

Outcomes were insertion attempts, ease of insertion (Using a VAS), needle stick injury, or blood contamination on patient or tray.


Fifty patients in each group (average age about 50 years) were recruited. There was no difference in ease of inserting the devices, but the safety device was scored as being significantly easier to handle.

There were no needlestick injuries. Blood contamination for staff, patients or equipment was the same in both groups (7 and 5 out of 50 respectively), but tray contamination did not occur with the safety device and in 39/50 with the conventional device.


This randomised trial could not be blinded. It was unlikely to show any difference in needlestick injuries with only 100 patients, but reminds us that blood contamination can come from other sources.