Intravenous (IV) therapy is a way of administering fluids directly into a vein. The procedure enables water, medication, blood, or nutrients to access the body faster through the circulatory system.
Healthcare professionals can use an IV to deliver medication, vitamins, blood, or other fluids to those who need them.
Doctors can provide IV therapy through an IV line directly into a vein. This bypasses the gastric system so the body can take on more fluids quickly.
During the procedure, a healthcare professional will insert a cannula into a person’s vein, usually in the crook of their arm. They can then attach a tube with an IV bag containing fluids, which then drip down the tube directly into the vein.
The fluids or nutrition in IV therapies are specific to each person requiring the treatment.
IV therapy can treat:
severe dehydration by administering fluids
health conditions by administering medication
pain by administering pain relief
blood loss by blood transfusion
malnutrition or inability to take food by administering nutrients
Doctors use the technique as a fast-acting way to feed essential fluids into the body’s system.
IV vitamin therapy
IV vitamin therapy can administer a high concentration of minerals and vitamins directly into the bloodstream rather than through the stomach.
A mix known as the Myers’ cocktailTrusted Source includes high doses of vitamins B and C, calcium, and magnesium. A medical professional dilutes the vitamins with sterile water.
They then put the fluid into an IV bag with a tube attached to the cannula.
Other types of IV vitamin therapies include:
IV magnesium sulfate for acute asthma: A 2018 studyTrusted Source found this treatment to be more beneficial than using a nebulizer, a device for inhalation medications through a face mask or mouthpiece, for children with acute asthma.
IV selenium for acute respiratory distress syndrome: This can provideTrusted Source help for critically ill people who need mechanical ventilation.
IV vitamin C for cancer: Healthcare professionals mayTrusted Source administer high doses of vitamin C to those living with cancer. However, researchers have not proven this treatment effective with studies.
Below is what happens during a typical IV therapy procedure:
Before the procedure, a healthcare professional will choose a vein where they insert the cannula. This may beTrusted Source in the forearm, wrist, the back of the hand, or the top of the foot. If a vein is difficult to find, they may use an ultrasound scan to guide the needle.
Once they have found a vein, the healthcare professional will sanitize the area with a wipe before inserting a fine needle attached to the cannula. They may use adhesive tape to hold the cannula in place.
Once the cannula is in place, healthcare professionals will use tubing to connect it to the IV.
During the infusion, a healthcare professional will regularly check the cannula to ensure that the IV is flowing properly and there is no pain or swelling in the area.
Once the IV therapy infusion is complete, the healthcare professional will disconnect the cannula from the tubing and remove it from the vein.
They will then apply pressure over the insertion wound to help slow any bleeding. They may dress the area with a cotton bud and adhesive tape.
The benefits of using IV therapy in a healthcare setting include Trusted Source:
Speed: By inserting medications, nutrients, and fluids directly into the vein, healthcare professionals can help a patient recover quickly. This may be particularly useful if the person needs fluids or electrolytes quickly, such as during severe dehydration.
Efficiency: IV therapy bypasses the gastric system, so the body can absorb more fluids without them having to pass through the digestive system. This makes it easier to provide medication to the target organs quickly.
Convenience: Once a medical professional inserts a cannula, it can stay there for several days. This means they can provide regular treatment without repeatedly inserting a needle to deliver more fluids.