Thirty-four patients with diminutive peripheral veins requiring peripheral IV access (PIVA) in the emergency department setting were randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups. One group of patients (Group A) received application of a bland ointment to the dorsum of the hand prior to attempts at cannulation, while the other group (Group B) received application of 2% nitroglycerin ointment to the dorsum of the hand prior to cannulation attempts. Cannulation was achieved in all 34 patients in the study, but required significantly fewer attempts in Group B patients (P = .04). No side effects of the drug were observed in any patient or any staff member applying the ointments. We conclude that application of 2% nitroglycerin ointment to the dorsum of the hand is a safe, effective method of inducing local venodilation that will ensure PIVA with significantly fewer attempts at cannulation.