The Three Types of IV Therapy

  • By Dr. Anand Thakkar
  • 30 Aug, 2016

There are basically three types of IV therapy. There is therapy to provide fluids, to give drugs, or to administer blood products. Let's look at three situations which might call for each of these types of IV therapy:

Johnnie is a young man who has been in a motorcycle accident. He is taken to the hospital by an ambulance. In the ambulance, the paramedics insert an IV catheter in his arm. Next, the paramedics hang a bag of IV solution to keep Johnnie hydrated and to replace any blood volume that he might have loss in the accident.

Johnnie arrives at the emergency department. He has many cuts and bruises and is in a great deal of pain. The emergency nurses inject pain medication into the IV. This is known as an IV  push .

Once Johnnie is determined to be stable, he is sent to a medical unit for further observation and care. His wounds are cleaned and dressed. The physician prescribes an antibiotic to prevent serious infections from the open wounds. The drug will be diluted in a bag of fluid attached to the existing IV tubing and administered slowly. This type of IV administration is known as an  IV piggy back , officially called a  secondary additive .

Johnnie's pain has been managed and he is resting comfortably. New laboratory results come back that show he has lost too much blood and his red blood cell count is too low. The physician writes an order for Johnnie to receive a  blood transfusion , which is when people receive a donor's blood that is the same type as theirs to replace any lost blood.

After the blood transfusion, Johnnie's laboratory results are normal. He continues his care for about a week, and then he is sent home to recover.

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