Intravenous Therapy: Definition, History, Uses, and Nursing Responsibilities

Intravenous Therapy: Definition, History, Uses, and Nursing Responsibilities

Intravenous therapy plays a crucial role, especially for patients who cannot consume food or medications orally. It involves administering medication, fluids, nutrients, and food directly into a person’s vein. This method is commonly used for rehydration, feeding individuals who cannot eat orally, correcting electrolyte imbalances, and performing medical treatments like blood transfusions. Intravenous therapy has a rich history dating back to the 15th century, with significant advancements made in the 20th century to ensure safe and efficient usage. If you are interested in becoming an intravenous therapy nurse, read on to learn more about this field.

What is Intravenous Therapy?

Intravenous therapy is a medical procedure that delivers medication, fluids, nutrients, and food to a person through their veins. It is especially beneficial for individuals who cannot eat or choose not to consume food or water orally due to various reasons, including diminished mental capacity. The intravenous method is also utilized to address electrolyte imbalances and perform other medical treatments like blood transfusions. Although attempts to use intravenous therapy date back to the 15th century, it gained popularity and safe usage in the 20th century.

History of Intravenous Therapy

The history of intravenous therapy traces back to 1492 when Pope Innocent VIII received blood from healthy individuals to treat his illness. However, this early attempt proved unsuccessful and resulted in the donors’ deaths. In 1656, intravenous therapy was successfully administered to a dog, demonstrating the possibility of transfusing blood from animals to humans and between individuals using IV therapy.

The Italian doctor Guido Bacilli made improvements to intravenous therapy in the late 1890s, and further advancements occurred in the 1930s. Despite these developments, the method was not widely adopted until the 1950s when it gradually replaced gastric drips and rectal infusions, which were previously common for fluid replenishment.

In the 1960s, the idea of meeting a person’s nutritional needs through intravenous injection gained serious consideration. The first parenteral nutrition supplements were composed of glucose and degraded proteins. In 1975, IV fat emulsifiers and micronutrients were added to create “total drug treatment,” which consisted of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

Intravenous Therapy Procedure

The basic intravenous access method involves inserting a thin needle directly into a vein through the skin. This needle can be connected to a syringe for delivering a bolus dosage. Alternatively, the needle can be attached to a tubing section for administering an infusion. The size and thickness of the catheters and needles are measured in French or Birmingham gauge, with the gauge size determining the rate of nutrient and medication delivery in the body.

Types of IV Therapy

1. IV Drip:

This type of treatment involves administering fluids slowly into the body through a plastic catheter inserted into the veins. The patient can relax or engage in activities like reading or working during the process.

2. IV Push:

In this method, an intravenous push is given through a plastic catheter that has already been inserted. IV pushes typically last up to 20 minutes, with an average of 40mls of fluids passing through the veins. This procedure should be supervised by a professional due to its nature.

Fluids and Vitamins in IV Therapy Bags

The contents of an intravenous therapy bag depend on the type of therapy being administered. Intravenous solutions may contain vitamins, saline, minerals, and other medications. Some typical elements found in intravenous bags include dextrose, saline, lactated ginger, vitamin B, calcium, magnesium, antioxidants, and antibiotics.

Benefits of Intravenous Therapy

Intravenous therapy offers several benefits, including:

– Energy management
– Weight loss support
– Hangover treatment
– Management of nutrient deficiencies
– Cleansing of free radicals

Where to Get Intravenous Therapy

Intravenous therapy can be administered in various settings, including:

– Hospitals: Many hospital patients receive IV therapy as part of their treatment.
– Urgent care centers: IV therapy may be provided in urgent care facilities for specific minor crises.
– Medical spas: Some medical spas offer IV therapy among their services, supervised by medical professionals.
– At home: Concierge services like Mobile Intravenous Medics can provide IV therapy at the patient’s home.
– IV bars: IV lounges or bars offer different intravenous therapies, some in fixed locations, while others are mobile.

Different Uses of Intravenous Therapy

Intravenous therapy has various applications, including:

– Strengthening the immune system
– Treating hangovers
– Enhancing athletic performance recovery
– Relieving colds and flu symptoms
– Alleviating pregnancy-related symptoms like morning sickness
– Providing headache and migraine relief

Nursing Responsibilities for IV Therapy

Nurses have essential responsibilities in managing intravenous therapy, such as determining the best IV site, hanging and priming the IV bag, calculating IV rates, supervising the therapy’s progress, and disconnecting the peripheral IV.

Risks of Intravenous Therapy

While intravenous therapy offers numerous benefits, it also comes with some risks, including infection at the injection site, damage to the veins, air embolism, and blood clots.

In Summary

Intravenous therapy is a valuable medical procedure that facilitates the direct delivery of fluids, nutrients, and medications into the bloodstream for rapid absorption. Its history spans centuries, with significant advancements made in the 20th century to ensure safe and effective usage. This therapy offers various benefits and can be administered in different settings to cater to patients’ needs. As a nursing student or professional, understanding intravenous therapy and its applications is essential for providing quality care to patients in need. If you require assistance with any nursing-related assignment, feel free to reach out to, where experts can help you achieve your desired grades.