If you have been admitted to a hospital for a life-threatening condition like a heart attack or a road accident, then you've probably come across an IV line. If you haven't, then don't worry; we'll walk you through what an IV line is and which type you may need depending on your condition. Read on for more insight.
What Is an IV?
IV is the short form for intravenous injection. IV therapy is the process doctors use to administer medication or vitamins to patients. An IV line is usually placed directly to the vein. It consists of a tube that connects to a fluid that flows into the vein through a syringe.
Patients can get an IV injection for various reasons. For example, during surgery, a patient needs a constant supply of fluids to maintain their blood sugar levels and hydration. This procedure can also be used in different life-threatening conditions to alleviate the risk of death.
There are two main delivery methods for IV therapy: IV bolus and IV push. Read on to find out the difference between the two.
What's the Difference Between IV Bolus and IV Push?
When you get admitted to a hospital for a condition that requires an IV line, doctors usually decide which IV therapy to administer based on the urgency.
IV bolus and IV push are both effective methods of administering medication, but they differ in speed, as discussed below.
Your doctor will recommend an IV bolus if you're not in any life-threatening condition. This form of IV therapy usually consists of a fluid bag and tube connected to a syringe and is administered slowly. This can take anywhere between a few minutes to several hours, depending on the person’s condition.
However, it is different from a standard drip IV in that the fluid line is always wide open. Doctors use this form of IV injection to rapidly increase the drug concentration in the blood over a period of time.
One of the most common use cases for an IV bolus is administering medication to diabetic patients with type one diabetes. It's used to raise the insulin concentration in their system to combat high blood sugar levels.
On the contrary, an IV push is the go-to IV therapy for emergency treatment. Compared to an IV bolus, an IV push is fast-acting and usually delivers medication in a matter of seconds. It is the preferred form for life-threatening conditions such as heart attacks and allergic reactions.
This form of IV consists of a dose of medication in a syringe being injected directly into the vein to combat a specific condition. Some common medications used with this type of IV therapy are Adenosine and Atropine.
When Should One Use an IV Push Over an IV Bolus?
Both the bolus and push intravenous therapies produce fast results. However, there are certain conditions where you might require an IV push over an IV bolus.
When faced with an emergency where you require immediate attention, your doctor will use an IV push to administer medication. Its ability to deliver results in mere seconds gives it an edge over the IV bolus.
Here are some medical conditions that require an IV push rather than an IV bolus:
- ● A heart attack
- ● An allergic reaction or anaphylactic shock
- ● Any other life-threatening condition
When Do You Need an IV Bolus?
Sometimes, you may not be in a critical condition that requires an IV push, but you're still not in a position to receive a standard IV therapy.
In such situations, doctors go with an IV bolus to administer drugs or fluids. Some conditions that require an IV bolus line include:
- ● While undergoing surgery
- ● When relieving symptoms
- ● When rehydrating after exercise
- ● When undergoing IV therapy
- ● When administering vitamins
The Bottom Line
Different IV therapies can be used to manage different conditions. Some hospitals and clinics provide at-home IV therapy sessions. Diabetic patients, for example, may require regular IV treatment to maintain their blood sugar levels. These, however, only consist of standard drip IV and IV bolus therapy.
Ultimately, the IV method used to administer treatment will depend on your medical condition and background. The dosage will also depend on the severity of your condition. Make sure you seek professional medical advice on IV therapies before booking an appointment.