What Is Intravenous Fluid Therapy?


Quick Answer

Intravenous fluid therapy is a process in which fluids are infused into the patient to sustain the balance of fluids, replace fluid losses, or treat imbalances of electrolytes, according to ATItesting.com. Such fluids are dispensed from either plastic or glass containers. Fluids that are too unstable to be held in plastic bags us bottles, and such bottles need a to be equipped for air to enter the bottle for proper application.

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Full Answer

Intravenous fluids given during such therapy are organized into three types: isotonic, hypertonic and hypotonic, reports ATItesting.com. Health care professionals give these fluids to patients to treat conditions affected by electrolyte amounts in the body and improper fluid balance. Isotonic solutions are commonly prescribed when there has been significant fluid loss, generally the type of loss called extracellular. Hypotonic solutions are given to expand intracellular space, usually an adjustment necessary after gastric fluid loss or other types of dehydration. This type of solution does not provide any electrolytes.

Hypertonic solutions present some risks when they are administered because they pull fluids into the vascular space and may lead to conditions such as pulmonary edema, especially in patients with other conditions, says ATItesting.com. These solutions provide patients with some calories and electrolytes. As necessary, intravenous solutions may also include vitamins to treat certain medical conditions.

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