Intravenous Therapy: Hazards, Complications and Their Prevention
In this review article, the local and systemic complications of intravenous therapy are highlighted and their preventive measures are discussed. Intravenous therapy exposes the patient to numerous hazards and many of them are avoidable, if the health care provider understands the risks involved and acts appropriately and timely to prevent their occurrence. Local complications such as thrombophlebitis and infiltration occur more commonly than systemic complications such as septicaemia, air embolism and circulatory overload. The nurse plays a key role in achieving safe and effective fluid therapy. In this regard, the attending nurse must visit the patient frequently, checking the flow rate, the amount of solution remaining and the site of infusion for signs of infiltration. Breaks in aseptic techniques, faulty handling of parenteral fluid containers, failure to discard out-dated intravenous solutions and tubings contribute to occurrence of intravenous-associated sepsis. Improper technique and lack of pharmaceutical knowledge when adding drugs into intravenous fluids contribute to incompatibilities which substantially increase the particulate matter in infusions as well as increase the risk of contamination.
Keywords: Intravenous therapy, infusions, hazards, complications.
Nigerian Hospital Practice Vol. 2 (2) 2008: pp. 27-32