What is IV therapy


The moment you hear the words ‘IV therapy’ you may start to think of drug addicts and other people who have mental health issues. After all, you may reason; these are the ones that need therapy.


However, the term therapy is misleading. It is used in conjunction with IV to illustrate that IV therapy can provide the means to treat people in general. In fact, it is a commonly used technique which has helped to save millions of lives round the world.

How IV Therapy works

IV Therapy refers to the placing of a needle through the skin and directly into your blood vessels. This is why it is known as intravenous; literally ‘within vein’. The needle is attached to a bag containing a specific substance which will help your body to fight an infection, rehydrate or even provide additional blood.

The reason IV therapy is necessary is because it provides instant help; the body can absorb much larger quantities of any substance when placed directly into the blood stream and it will happen quicker. There is no waiting for the digestive system to absorb the vital medicine and pass it through to the relevant organs.

Where IV Therapy is Administered

IV therapy can actually be introduced into almost any part of your body. This is another reason it can be so effective as it can be added directly to the affected site. There are different names attached to the different IV therapy lines; depending upon where they are placed in your body.

  • Peripheral IV Therapy – This is when the needle is pushed into one of your outer veins; such as those on your arms, legs and even your hands and feet. The vein is just below the surface, generally easy to access and this is the most common form of IV therapy.
  • Central IV Therapy – These are generally slightly larger as they are aiming for a specific larger vein in your body. The target of central IV therapy is often one of the main veins to your heart or even directly into the right atrium of your heart!

This type of IV therapy allows doctors to add drugs which may be classed as irritants. The faster flowing blood in these vessels will not allow the drug time to irritate the walls of your blood vessels before it is swept round the body. The fact that it is administered almost directly into your heart means that it can very quickly be pumped round your body.

  • Peripherally Inserted Central IV therapy – This approach is often adopted when a drug needs to be introduced for a long period of time or at regular intervals. A standard sheath is pushed into the peripheral vein and then guided up to the right atrium. This allows for easy repetitive administration. It is worth noting that this type of IV therapy involves the most risk as any bacterial infection can travel directly to the heart.

IV therapy is an essential part of modern medicine and one that you will be grateful for if you ever need it!