About IV Therapy

October 4, 2018
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
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When a loved one is diagnosed with a health condition, family members and caregivers have to become acquainted with a new language. Suddenly, medical terms become commonplace. If you’re not familiar with what the terms mean, it can quickly become overwhelming.

One of the most common terms is IV Therapy. While most people may have a general idea of what it entails, if you’re caring for a loved one who will need it on a regular basis, it’s good to have a general overview of the different types of therapies and possible related complications.

What Is IV Therapy?

IV stands for “intravenous” or “inside the vein”. It means that the patient receives substances directly into their veins through a tube called a cannula. This could be either medication or nutrition.

Types of IV Therapy

  • IV Therapy for fluids
  • IV Therapy for blood transfusions
  • IV Therapy for medications
  • IV Therapy for nutrition

Reasons for Administering IV Therapy

IV Therapy is a common practice for administering fluids to dehydrated patients, medications, chemotherapy treatments, and blood transfusions.

Complications of IV Therapy

While IV treatment is relatively safe, there can be complications if not administered properly. The most common include:

1. Phlebitis. Inflammation of the vein. It occurs when the cannula is too large for the vein or if it’s improperly secured. To prevent this, the caregiver should use the smallest needle possible suitable for the patient and the fluid being administered.

Symptoms include:

  • Warmth
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Redness around the vein

2. Extravasation. This happens when the liquid in the IV leaks to the tissue surrounding the vein. It can also be caused by inserting a cannula that’s too big for the patient.

Symptoms include:

  • Burning sensation
  • Swelling around the IV site

3. Air Embolism. This happens when an air bubble (or air bubbles) enters the vein. It could be fatal if not caught early, since the air can travel to the person’s brain, heart, or lungs. The complication can be avoided by ensuring that the patient is properly hydrated and resting in a supine position when injecting and removing the IV line.

Symptoms include:

  • Blue hue of the patient’s skin
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Low blood pressure

4. Hypervolaemia. This is an abnormal increase in blood volume. It’s more likely to happen in pregnant women, young children, elderly patients, or people with kidney problems.

The most common signs are:

  • Tachycardia (increased heart rate)
  • Distended neck veins

5. Infection. If the IV line, port, or skin on the site of injection are not properly cleaned prior to inserting the IV, the likelihood of infection increases. This can be prevented with proper sterilization and hygiene.

Symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Fever

Contact Care Options for Kids for Home Health Care Services

If you or a loved one are in need of regular IV therapy, let us help you. At Care Options for Kids, we have an entire team of experienced caregivers to ensure the wellbeing of the patient.

If you or an aging loved one are considering home health care services, contact the caring staff at Care Options for Kids. Call today at (888) 592-5855.