Br J Nurs 2019 Apr;28(8):S20-S26
Faculty Member and Anaesthesiology Practitioner, Department of Health Management and Economics, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Background: peripheral intravenous cannulation is the most prevalent invasive procedure performed on patients admitted to hospital. The procedure is not always easy to undertake and can lead to problems for the patient and nurse. Alongside various procedures, local warming is one technique that could be used to increase the diameter of superficial veins. This prospective non-randomised trial aimed to determine the effect of local warming on vein diameter in the antecubital area in adults aged 20-40 years.
Method: the subjects included 55 volunteers who were in good health. The cephalic vein diameter of the right arm cubital area was measured for each participant using ultrasound guidance. The arm was warmed for 10 minutes using a heating device maintained at 42ºC. A second ultrasound scan was then undertaken immediately afterwards and cephalic vein diameter measured.
Results: local warming increased the cephalic vein diameter in the cubital area by 0.43±0.4 mm. There was no significant relationship between change in cephalic vein diameter and participants' gender, age or body mass index.
Conclusion: the results indicate that the application of heat is an effective technique for venodilation and could be considered in emergencies or in cases when other veins are difficult to access.