IV Therapy Complications

"Let's give him/her some IV fluids." Seems like a simple enough order. IV therapy is part of medicine, but it is not without risks. It is important to know the risks so that you know what complications to look for in the seconds, hours, days after an IV has been started.

Thrombophlebitis - usually manifests with erythema, inflammation, and/or pain at the IV site (think about changing the IV q3 days to help prevent this)

Infiltration - this happens when whatever you are giving through the IV (meds/fluids) starts to leak into the surrounding tissue (this can cause a big problem - compartment syndrome - if the volume is large enough)

Blockage - something, a blood clot for example, can clog the IV making it unusable (flushes can help minimize the risk of this)

Air embolus

Source: Step up to Medicine 2nd ED Agabegi and Agabegi
Pic source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intravenous_therapy

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