'Unacceptable': 2 out of 3 cannulas inserted in wrong spot

Forearm is best, but most are placed in patients' hands or wrists, shows Oz study

Patients are being jabbed with cannulas that are in the wrong place, unnecessary or perform poorly, placing them at risk of infection and pain, research shows.

Two-thirds of peripheral intravenous catheters are inserted into areas not recommended by international guidelines or risk failing before they're needed, an international study led by Australian researchers shows.

In the study, hundreds of health professionals assessed 40,620 peripheral intravenous catheters in 51 countries. 

They found that while the forearm is the recommended site in an adult, most were in non-recommended sites such as the hand, wrist or antecubital veins - with many devices already failing or at risk of failure.

One in 10 were unnecessarily painful or showed symptoms of phlebitis, and a further 10% had signs of malfunction.

The failure rates are unacceptably high, according to lead author Dr