Medically reviewed by Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CNE, COI — created by Christine Case-Lo — updated on July 5, 2021

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Some medications must be given by one intravenous (IV) injection or infusion. This way they’re sent straight into your vein utilizing a needle or tube. In fact, the ax “intravenous” means “into the vein.”

With IV administration, a thin plastic tube referred to as an IV catheter is put into your vein. The catheter enables your healthcare expert to provide you multiple for sure doses that medication there is no needing come poke you v a needle each time.

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In many cases, you won’t offer yourself an intravenous medication. While you can take some infusion medicines yourself at home, you’ll likely receive your therapy from a healthcare professional.

Read on come learn around the two key tools used for IV administration — conventional IV lines and central venous catheters — including why they’re used and also what the threats are.

Uses the IV medications

IV medication is frequently used since it helps control the medicine dosing. Because that instance, in some situations, human being must get medication really quickly. This consists of emergencies, prefer a heart attack, stroke, or poisoning. In this instances, taking pills or liquids by mouth may not be fast sufficient to obtain these drugs right into the bloodstream. IV administration, top top the other hand, conveniently sends a medication directly into the bloodstream.

Other times, medications might need come be provided slowly yet constantly. IV management can additionally be a controlled means to provide drugs end time.

Certain drugs might be offered by IV management because if you took them orally (by mouth), enzyme in her stomach or liver would break castle down. This would avoid the medicine from functioning well once they’re ultimately sent to her bloodstream. Therefore, these drugs would be much more effective if sent directly into her bloodstream by IV administration.

About traditional IV lines

Standard IV currently are frequently used for momentary needs. For instance, they may be used throughout a quick hospital continue to be to carry out medication throughout surgery or to provide pain medications, nausea medications, or antibiotics. A traditional IV line can typically be provided for as much as 4 days.

With conventional IV administration, a needle is usually inserted into a vein in her wrist, elbow, or the ago of her hand. The catheter is then driven over the needle. The needle is removed, and the catheter remains in her vein. Every IV catheters are commonly given in a hospital or clinic. Many of the time, the IV catheter will certainly be left in place with a accessibility cap and also it is only accessed as soon as needed.

A conventional IV catheter is used for two kinds that IV medication administration:

IV push

An IV “push” or “bolus” is a quick injection of medication. A syringe is placed into your catheter to easily send a one-time dose of a drug right into your bloodstream.

IV infusion

An IV infusion is a controlled management of medication right into your bloodstream over time. The two key methods of IV infusion usage either gravity or a pump to send medication into your catheter:

Pump infusion. In the unified States, a pump infusion is the many common method used. The pump is enclosed to your IV line and sends medication and also a solution, such as sterile saline, into your catheter in a slow, secure manner. Pumps may be used when the medication dosage must be precise and controlled.Drip infusion. This an approach uses heaviness to supply a constant amount of medication over a set duration of time. Through a drip, the medication and also solution drip from a bag v a tube and into your catheter.

Long-term medicine treatment, such together chemotherapy or full parenteral nutrition, usually needs a main venous catheter (CVC) rather of a typical IV catheter. A CVC is inserted into a vein in her neck, chest, arm, or groin area.

CVCs can be provided for a longer duration of time than a conventional IV line. A CVC have the right to stay in location for number of weeks or even months.

The 3 main species of CVCs include:

Peripherally inserted main catheter (PICC)

A PICC has a lengthy line that sends out medication from the area that insertion, with your veins, all the way to a vein close to your heart. A PICC is frequently placed in a vein over your elbow in your top arm.

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Tunneled catheter

With a tunneled catheter, medication can be sent directly into veins in her heart. One end of the catheter is put into a vein in your neck or chest during a quick surgical procedure. The rest of the catheter is tunneled v your body, with the other finish coming out v your skin. Medications can then be given into that end of the catheter.

Implanted port

Like a tunneled catheter, one implanted port inserts a catheter into a vein in her neck or chest. This device is also placed throughout a short surgical procedure. But unlike a tunneled catheter, one implanted harbor is located completely beneath your skin. To use this device, a healthcare experienced injects medication v your skin into the port, which sends out the medication right into your bloodstream.