IV infusions can offer many benefits in relieving symptoms of chronic diseases, boosting the immune system, and a patient’s overall well-being. For many people getting care in a hospital, IV therapy is one of the most common occurrences. However, more people are choosing to receive IV fluids even when it’s not considered medically necessary or specifically recommended by a doctor.   

Knowledge is power when it comes to receiving IV therapy, and whether it’s elective for potential wellness benefits or required for a patient in a critical situation, it’s important to understand the differences and areas for concern.  

Elective or “On Demand” Fluids 

IV bars or the ability to get IV fluids on-demand are a growing trend, allowing individuals quick access to hangover ‘cures’ and other treatments via IV hydration with an infusion of vitamins and nutrients. Additionally, while some of these facilities offer ongoing treatment that promote anti-aging and revitalization, the clinical evidence of real effectiveness is lacking.  

Any invasive procedure comes with risk and IV therapy is no exception. Elective IV therapy isn’t safe for everyone. Patients with congestive heart failure, for example, should be cautious because excess fluids in the blood stream can further strain the body. People on certain medications or with some allergies may not be good candidates either because of the potential for unintended interactions.  

Also keep in mind, that any puncture to the skin can lead to infection. To reduce this risk, close monitoring for signs of infection and prompt treatment are important. While these complications are unlikely, even small risks are worth understanding to decide what is best for you.  

Medically-Recommended IV Therapy 

Use of peripheral IV (PIV) therapy in the hospital and emergency room is common for providing timely delivery of needed therapiesAlthough it’s one of the most common procedures performed worldwide, a recent review of medical literature found that up to 50 percent of the IVs fail before therapy is completed.   

Some of the potential complications include infiltration, hematoma, and air embolism.  

Patients limited by the inability to communicate due to age, sedation or paralysis or an altered mental status are particularly vulnerable, as they may not be able to communicate pain if something is wrong with their IV. It’s equally important for caregivers to ask about common complications and symptoms.  

IV therapy is often taken for granted since it’s one of the least invasive forms of therapy delivery. Ieither an elective or required situation, it’s essential to weigh the risks of complications, and make informed decisions for your health and wellbeing.  

Your Recommended Reads: 

IV and Patients with Disabilities: Taking Special Care

Learning the Benefits and Risks of IV Antibiotics

How Raising IV Awareness Can Minimize Patient Harm


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