10 Commonly Asked IV Therapy Questions

10 Commonly Asked IV Therapy Questions

Intravenous (IV) therapy is the delivery of fluids, blood, or medication directly into a patient’s system through the veins. The main advantage of IV treatments is the ability to quickly and efficiently deliver IV fluids and/or drugs directly into the bloodstream. 4 out of 5 U.S. hospital patients receive an IV, making it one of the most common procedures performed.

How does IV therapy work?

IV catheters are inserted into a patient’s vein with a needle that is removed once the catheter is placed. IV tubing and fluid/medication is then attached to catheter, which then infuse the fluids into a patient’s vein. An IV pump is commonly used to administer the fluid.

What is IV therapy used for?

IV therapy can be effective for a number of conditions including:

Dehydration

Pain management

Blood transfusion

Chemotherapy treatments

IV drug therapy

Is IV therapy safe?

Over 80% of admitted U.S. hospital patients receive an IV, yet the current failure rate is 50%.1 Although it is considered a routine procedure, like any medical procedure, there are risks involved. Patients should discuss IV therapy with their medical team to make sure they are being monitored for possible complications like infiltration, phlebitis, and infection.

Does IV therapy hurt?

Many Americans have a fear of needles, and everyone’s tolerance to pain is different. However, most patients barely feel the placement of a standard IV. Some healthcare providers will pre-treat the skin with a very cold spray to numb the area and minimize any discomfort. If the IV starts to hurt during infusion, the clinician should be notified.

What if I think something is wrong with my IV?

If you experience symptoms such as pain, swelling and/or redness, alert your medical team right away as these can be signs of more dangerous complications.

Who administers the IV?

Typically, Registered Nurses (RNs) administer a patient’s IV treatment.

How often do I need IV Therapy?

This depends on the type of treatment you are receiving and the type of IV being used. It also may differ based on the hospital protocol where you are receiving treatment.

What are the different types of IVs?

Peripheral IVs, otherwise known as Standard Lines, are most often given to medical, surgical or emergency room patients and are indicated for treatment lengths of less than five days.

Central Lines are more invasive, leading directly into the heart and can be left in for several weeks/months.

Midline Catheters are a less invasive method for delivering fluids and medications or drawing blood samples. They can be left in the patient for more than five days but less than a month.2

References

1Helm, R. E., Klausner, J.D., Klemperer, J.D., Flint, L.M., and Huang, E. (2015). “Accepted but Unacceptable: Peripheral IV Catheter Failure.” Journal of Infusion Nursing, 38(3), 189-203.
2When to use a midline catheter: Nursing 2017
http://journals.lww.com/nursing/Citation/2005/04000/When_to_use_a_midline_catheter.49.aspx

Intravenous (IV) therapy is the delivery of fluids, blood, or medication directly into a patient’s system through the veins. The main advantage of IV treatments is the ability to quickly and efficiently deliver IV fluids and/or drugs directly into the bloodstream. 4 out of 5 U.S. hospital patients receive an IV, making it one of the most common procedures performed.

How does IV therapy work?

IV catheters are inserted into a patient’s vein with a needle that is removed once the catheter is placed. IV tubing and fluid/medication is then attached to catheter, which then infuse the fluids into a patient’s vein. An IV pump is commonly used to administer the fluid.

What is IV therapy used for?

IV therapy can be effective for a number of conditions including:

Dehydration

Pain management

Blood transfusions

Chemotherapy treatments

IV drug therapy

References

1Helm, R. E., Klausner, J.D., Klemperer, J.D., Flint, L.M., and Huang, E. (2015). “Accepted but Unacceptable: Peripheral IV Catheter Failure.” Journal of Infusion Nursing, 38(3), 189-203.
2When to use a midline catheter: Nursing 2017
http://journals.lww.com/nursing/Citation/2005/04000/When_to_use_a_midline_catheter.49.aspx