Intravenous therapy a method of delivering fluids and medications directly into the vein. This route is the fastest way of introducing fluids and medications into the body. Other methods can be orally or through skin contact like medication patches. However blood is one substance if needed to be given that can only be introduced into the body intravenously. Intravenous therapy consists of a catheter that is inserted just under the skin and into the vein. The catheter then has tubing attached to it in order to introduce medications, blood and or fluids. The catheters come in many sizes. There is even special sized catheters designed for infants.
There are many types of IV solutions that can be introduced into the body. Some of these solutions are isotonic, hypotonic, hypertonic, crystalloid, and colloid. Each of these solutions perform different tasks and are designed to perform certain functions that could be deadly if not used properly and in the dose recommended. Only trained professionals are allowed to introduce these solutions.
Isotonic solutions stay inside the intravascular compartment and expand its contents without shifting fluids to or from other compartments. Hypotonic solutions pull water from the vascular compartment into the interstitial compartment then into the cells. Hypertonic solutions pull fluids as well as electrolytes into the intravascular compartment from the intracellular and interstitial compartments. Crystalloid solutions contain electrolytes and no electrolytes and will diffuse into all body fluid compartments. These are especially good to use for those patients in the pre-hospital setting that have extreme fluid loss. Colloid solutions pull fluids from the interstitial and the intracellular compartments into the vascular compartments where they remain.
Blood is also delivered via intravenously. Blood may need to be given due to a severe loss from an accident whether it is lost from an exterior wound or internally. Blood is needed for the transport of many substances throughout our body, Oxygen and platelets are just two of the substances transported by blood. Without blood our cells, tissues, and organs would not get the essential substances they need to survive.
Some medications and drugs are also introduced intravenously. Like we mentioned earlier, intravenous access is the fastest route into the body for introductions. If a patient is in need of medications that need to work immediately, then intravenous will be the most appropriate route. Pain medications are one of the many medications or drugs in which would require fast introduction.
Intravenous therapy should only be performed by someone properly trained to do so. If done improperly such complications as catheter shear and sepsis can result. If you would like to become a trained professional that can perform this type of skill you should seek out a school that is certified to instruct on this life saving technique.