What Are Some Risks of Intravenous Medication?


Quick Answer

Potential risks of intravenous medication include phlebitis, damage to a blood vessel, air embolisms and deep vein thrombosis, according to Healthline. These effects can occur both with single-dose medications delivered through a syringe and with intravenous catheter lines.

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Full Answer

Phlebitis is a common side effect of inserting an intravenous catheter line, states NetWellness. Its occurs in 2.5 to 45 percent of intravenous catheter placements, depending on how each facility defines this term. Other factors that can affect the likelihood of phlebitis include how long the intravenous catheter is in place, what materials it's made of and the catheter line's length. Patients with other health conditions may have an increased likelihood of developing phlebitis.

Thrombophlebitis is another risk of intravenous line use, explains NetWellness. The intravenous catheter can irritate the vein in which it's placed, and this can trigger clotting. These clots typically don't have the same health risks of other types of clots, although they can rarely become infected and cause septic thrombophlebitis, which might require hospitalization and antibiotics.

In some cases, a catheter can unintentionally contact tissue surrounding the blood vessel, reports NetWellness. This condition is called infiltration, and it presents as a lump that's cool to the touch. Another potential risk is hemotomas, which are collections of blood under the skin caused by internal bleeding. Hemotomas generally resolve in hours or days without treatment.

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