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The Award Winning Cannula Dressing

The novel Cannula Dressing is the idea of Barbara Jameson and Pat Hogg, ITU nurses at the University Hospital of North Durham. In 2008, the design picked up second prize in the regional 'Bright Ideas in Health Awards', and with support from NHS Innovation North was developed into a product.

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The dressing has been designed for use with arterial cannulae. Critically ill patients require constant monitoring so that changes in their condition can be rapidly recognised and early treatment administered. An important tool routinely used in the critical care setting is arterial blood pressure monitoring.

This is done by inserting a cannula into an artery, which is attached to a monitor and continuously records the blood pressure and allows for blood samples to be taken without the use of needles.

However, as an invasive device it has the potential to cause many serious complications if not managed correctly. Accidental injection of medicines into the arterial lines can be disastrous therefore it needs to be easily identifiable from other lines. Arterial line dressings need to be secure to prevent accidental removal as profuse bleeding can happen if this occurs. The insertion point of the cannula needs to be visible to allow staff to monitor for signs of infection.

The innovative dressing designed by Barbara and Pat solves these potential problems reducing clinical risk to patients. The new dressing is clearly marked in red as an arterial line so it easily identifiable from other lines. It has a higher strength adhesive and large contact area in order to reduce the chance of the line being accidently pulled out.

There is space for the date of insertion to be written clearly on the dressing and there is a window in the dressing to allow staff to visibly assess the insertion site of the line for early signs of infection.

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