Patients can become extremely diaphoretic with high fevers or if under the influence of PCP or a stimulant. Slippery, sweaty skin can pose a problem when securing peripheral IV’s. Adhesive tapes that are typically designed for securing these IV’s often slip off… immediately followed by the IV falling out.

How can you secure the IV … without using staples and sutures? 

Trick of the Trade: Securing a peripheral IV

Wrap non-cloth tape circumferentially around the arm.


  • Wrap the arm with a circumferential band of non-cloth tape which just covers the IV hub. 
  • Slide a narrow strip under the IV hub and crisscross (Chevron-shape) over the hub.
  • Secure this strip to the initial tape band layer (and not the sweaty skin).
  • Place a third tape circumferentially around the arm just distal to and covering the IV hub and tubing.

Note: Be careful about wrapping anything circumferentially around an extremity. Routinely check the extremity to avoid creating an iatrogenic tourniquet.

Thanks to Tricia and the night-shift nursing team, who are always sharing great practical pearls.

Michelle Lin, MD
ALiEM Founder and CEO
Professor and Digital Innovation Lab Director
Department of Emergency Medicine
University of California, San Francisco
Michelle Lin, MD


Professor of Emerg Med at UCSF-Zuckerberg SF General. ALiEM Founder @aliemteam #PostitPearls at https://t.co/50EapJORCa Bio: https://t.co/7v7cgJqNEn
Michelle Lin, MD