Should I aspirate a Peripheral Cannula prior to using it?

The Infusion Nurses Society Infusion Therapy Standards of Practice states to assess and document patency for all types of venous access devices prior to intermittent infusions and regularly for continuous infusions. Patency is assessed by aspirating for blood return.

The Cancer Nurses Society of Australia provides specific recommendations for the frequency of patency assessment of peripheral intravenous cannulas and central venous access devices for paediatric and adult patients:

  1. Inpatients - at least once per shift for inpatients
  2. Prior to all medication administration including blood products, parenteral nutrition, antibiotics, electrolytes, intravenous iron
  3. Prior to all chemotherapy administration
  4. Prior to use for Interventional Radiological investigations
  5. Unused lumens of a multi-lumen CVAD - once per shift for inpatients and at each outpatient or home visit
  6. Outpatient, ambulatory, or home visit patients- during access at each visit

Patency findings should be documented once per shift for inpatients and at each visit for outpatient, ambulatory, or home visits.


Gorski LA, Hadaway L, Hagle ME, Broadhurst D, Clare S, Kleidon T, et al. Infusion Therapy Standards of Practice, 8th Edition. J Infus Nurs. 2021 Jan-Feb 01;44(1S Suppl 1):S1-S224. 

Patency Assessment - CNSA - Cancer Nurses Society of Australia


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