Intravenous (IV) therapy has gained a lot of popularity recently as celebrities, and the internet publicizes IV vitamin treatments. It is not a new concept. You may recognize it as a drip line, or only as an IV line.
What is Intravenous Therapy?
IV therapy is the injection of fluids directly into a person’s bloodstream using an IV line system. The drip line connects to a delivery catheter that is injected into the patient’s vein. In the form of fluids, medicine, nutrients, and other essentials are injected directly into the patient’s bloodstream.
Intravenous therapy is a quicker and more efficient alternative to oral medication. It takes time for oral medicine to show its effect as it first has to pass through the digestive system. In contrast, IV therapy gets the medication into the bloodstream, where it goes to the heart in a split second. The heart then pumps the medicines to all the organs and tissues that need it in seconds.
Intravenous Therapy Treatment Setups
IV therapy is applicable through a variety of setups. The setups vary in terms of factors such as placement and purpose. The most common IV setups include:
- Peripheral Lines
Peripheral intravenous lines (PIVs) are attached to peripheral veins, which run directly beneath the skin in the arms, hands, legs, and feet. This is the most common setup as peripheral veins are easy to locate. Peripheral lines are applied for relatively mild conditions.
- Central Lines
Central intravenous lines are attached to the central vein, which runs along the torso beneath the smaller veins. The CIV’s catheter is advanced through the top-surface veins until it reaches the central vein, which can be either the superior or inferior vena cava.
Central lines are used in cases where the medicine administered may damage the weaker peripheral veins. Central veins have thick walls, a larger diameter, and faster blood-flow speeds. To this end, central veins support the delivery of multiple medications simultaneously, which is not possible with peripheral veins.
This setup is also used in cases where the peripheral veins are difficult to locate, as is often common in drug users. They are also preferable over PIVs for long-term treatment since they do not easily come off.
- Tunneled Lines
One of the potential side-effects of IV therapy is a bacterial infection at the point of the catheter’s entry. Tunneled lines minimize this risk by reducing contact between the blood vessels and foreign materials. The delivery tube is inserted directly under the skin and then passed some distance before reaching the central vein.
Other IV therapy setups include implantable ports, midline catheters, and peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs). Each structure has a particular purpose relative to the patient’s overall condition.
Benefits and Uses of Intravenous Therapy
IV therapy has a wide range of uses. It also has more benefits compared to alternative treatment methods. Its main advantage, as highlighted earlier, is the fast delivery of medicine in cases where urgent care is necessary. Its other benefits and uses include:
- Exchange Transfusions
Blood transfusion has helped save millions of lives so far, thanks to the use of IV therapy. Many exchange transfusions are enabled by IV therapy.
Jaundice in newborn babies was fatal before the 1950s. Physicians started using IV therapy as an effective solution to jaundice. IV therapy helps get rid of the excess bilirubin in an infant’s blood system by draining some of the blood out and replacing it with healthy blood. Jaundice now doesn’t pose much of a threat.
- Maintaining Homeostasis
Homeostasis entails a balanced internal body environment. This means that elements such as hormones, nutrients, fluids, and other essentials are not only sufficient but also balanced.
This is not always possible, especially in cases whereby the patient is incapacitated. For example, patients in a coma cannot eat food, but their bodies still need nutrients to stay alive. IV therapy is used in such cases to maintain homeostasis.
- Supporting Overall Wellness
IV therapy has become increasingly popular beyond hospital walls, as mentioned, because of its increased use by celebrities. Celebrities are praising the effects of IV vitamin treatment, which involves the injection of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients directly into the bloodstream. This has caught the masses’ attention and, consequently, IV vitamin treatment services are growing in demand.
IV therapy is also used as an emergency remedy for extreme hangovers. Water is injected into the patient’s bloodstream through the IV line for hydration. It quickly alleviates the sickly feeling of a hangover, mostly caused by dehydration from excessive drinking.
You Can Rely on IV Therapy
IV therapy has helped improve medical practice. It is one of the fastest and most efficient forms of treatment therapies. Intravenous therapy delivers life-sustaining substances, including medicine and nutrients, directly into the bloodstream even when the patient is incapacitated. It is a reliable form of treatment.