What Is an IV?

Reviewed on 2/5/2021

IV stands for intravenous, which refers to delivering fluids or medicines into a vein.
IV stands for intravenous, which refers to delivering fluids or medicines into a vein.

IV stands for intravenous, which refers to delivering fluids or medicines into a vein. It involves the administration of concentrated medications (diluted or undiluted). An IV line is a soft, flexible tube placed inside a vein, usually in the hand or arm. The IV is left in place so that the fluids and medicine directly go into the blood. Blood samples may also be taken with the tube.

Some of the characteristics of an IV therapy include:

  • Administering a medication intravenously eliminates the process of drug absorption from the gut.
  • Medications can be released at the desired rate in the blood.
  • There is an immediate elevation of serum levels and high concentration of the drug in the vital organs, such as the heart, brain, and kidneys.
  • Therapeutic effects occur quickly.
  • Chances of side effects are also high.

An IV therapy involves the following:

  • Inserting a needle that’s inside a thin tube through the skin into a vein.
  • Once placed inside the vein, the needle is removed.
  • The catheter is left in place and kept in place using tape to prevent it from moving or falling out.
  • While IV lines are typically painless, the initial needle insertion can be painful.

When is an IV placed?

An intravenous (IV) should be placed

  • When there’s an issue with the digestive system.
  • To receive more fluids than you can take.
  • To receive blood transfusions.
  • To take medications that can’t be taken by mouth.
  • When there’s massive bleeding.
  • When there’s overwhelming infection.
  • When there’s dangerously low blood pressure.

How long does an IV last?

An intravenous (IV) may last as long as 3 days. The IV line should be replaced

  • After 3 days.
  • When the old ones stop working or fall out.
  • When the skin around the IV becomes puffy, red, or warm to touch.

Are there any risks from IV placement?

Usually, intravenous (IV) placement doesn’t cause any problems. Rarely, there might be some issues, including:

  • A small bruise at the site where the needle is inserted
  • Leakage of fluid and medicine into the nearby area
  • Swelling and discomfort
  • Infection

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References
https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/intravenous-line.html

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002383.htm

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/drip-bar-should-you-get-an-iv-on-demand-2018092814899

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