A “unique” midline cannula previously only available in hospitals has been used for the first time in the community by a specialist intravenous therapy nurse.
The device, which was developed in the US, can deliver continuous IV therapy for the duration of a patient’s course of treatment without being replaced.
Unlike other cannulas, it can also be used to take blood samples and allows other medications to be administered through the same line.
“The most benefit has come for people with poor peripheral access as the risk of missed doses due to staff being unable to locate a suitable vein is reduced”
Called the Powerwand, the cannula is inserted by using a portable ultrasound device and can be left in place for several months, compared to the standard few days.
It has been used in the UK in hospitals for the past four years and now the company that distributes the device, PFM Medical Ltd, is making it available for the community.
IV nurse specialist Pam McGrail, who works at Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, was the first to use the cannula in this setting.
She described the device as a “unique product between a cannula and a midline” and said it had provided multiple benefits for patients.
It is in inserted at a clinic and then treatment and blood monitoring can continue at home, reducing the need for patients to attend appointments.
“[With this device being used in the community] patients benefit from a local approach meaning they avoid having to go to hospital for appointments”
Unlike other cannulas, it can be inserted into the upper arm where it is less obvious and intrusive to daily life, and its ability to stay in place for weeks means the patient has less needle punctures from having it replaced.
“I have found that the most benefit has come for people with poor peripheral access as this means that the risk of missed doses due to staff being unable to locate a suitable vein is reduced,” said Ms McGrail.
“Unlike other midlines, blood can be withdrawn, again reducing the number of stabs and therefore reducing the risk of infection,” she added.
PFM Medical’s clinical educator in vascular access, Alan Martin, described the device as “a major breakthrough in vascular access”.
“Patients benefit from a local approach meaning they avoid having to go to hospital for appointments, they benefit from reduced travel and reduced delays to treatment and there are low complication rates,” he said.
“There is no waiting at an acute hospital for midline or PICC line placements, so there are also reduced costs to the local health economy,” he added.