Intravenous Lines, Categorized By Their Type and Use.

When administering medication to hospitalized patients, intravenous infusion therapy is commonly used. There are various types of IVs, each with a unique clinical application. However, there are fundamental differences between peripheral intravenous lines (the catheter or cannula is inserted into a vein in one of the extremities, usually the hand or forearm).


The  central intravenous lines (the tip of the catheter is located in the superior vena cava in front of the atrium on the right side of the heart), we will see that within each category there are different types of IVs. The choice of one or the other is made based on different factors:




  • The type of medication to be administered

Some drugs can be irritating or vesicant, causing damage to the vein walls through which they are administered, especially if they are of a small caliber. Similarly, it is sometimes necessary to administer multiple drugs simultaneously, which means older infusion volumes.


  • The treatment’s duration

The doctor or nurse cannot keep a catheter inserted into a peripheral venous line in place for an extended period of time.


  • The patient’s age and health status


In elderly patients or patients with vascular pathologies, peripheral intravenous routes can be difficult to use. Similarly, the peripheral veins may be too small to administer the medication in newborns and infants properly.


  • Patient convenience.

In the case of long-term treatments (such as chemotherapy) that necessitate multiple punctures, the patient may prefer to wear a central line for some time. However, when it comes to peripheral routes, we must try to make the patient’s mobility and comfort as easy as possible.


1. Peripheral intravenous lines.


They are most commonly found in emergency rooms, delivery rooms, and hospitalization wards. They are also the simplest, as the mere insertion of a cannula-type catheter is sufficient to initiate the infusion immediately. However, the previously mentioned factors must be considered when using these routes. The cannula is usually inserted in the back of the hand, forearm, or antecubital fossa. Still, in some cases (babies, people with upper extremity problems, etc.), the veins of the foot can be used.


Peripheral intravenous lines have the disadvantage of having a limited duration, which necessitates changing the insertion point from time to time based on clinical staff criteria. Furthermore, peripheral veins have a smaller caliber, limiting medication administration.


2. Central Intravenous lines


Central IV lines are inserted into much larger veins, allowing for greater volume infusion while lowering the risk of extravasation. Furthermore, its durability is much higher. They are widely used in intensive care units and cancer treatment for precisely these reasons.


There are several types of central intravenous lines, each with a specific purpose:


1.   Central venous lines are placed using a simple catheter

This is inserted directly into a large caliber vein (usually jugular or subclavian).


2.   Intravenous reservoirs

(permanent or semi-permanent central venous lines), also known as “ports” or “port-a-caths”: In this case, a reservoir with a silicone septum is inserted under the skin of the patient’s chest, through which the medication is injected using a “non-coring” type needle. The main advantage of this type of catheter is that it is fully implanted inside the patient, avoiding complications caused by the point of insertion in the skin, among other things.


3.   PICCs

These are central venous lines inserted peripherally using a long catheter that reaches a large caliber vein. X-rays are typically used to confirm that the catheter tip is correct. This type of catheter can be implanted using a nursing technique, saving the patient from undergoing surgery and allowing duly trained nursing teams to manage this type of central line placement process autonomously. They can consist of one or more lights.

4.   Midlines

Midlines are similar to PICCs, but they are easier to place and shorter. In addition, they are not considered central lines because the tip of the catheter is not located in a central vein but rather in a peripheral vein. Still, their greater length compared to a peripheral line and the greater blood flow present in the area where the drug comes into contact with blood allow drugs that should never be infused through a cannula to be infused.


Jugular puncture central lines, or PICCs, are commonly used in the ICU because concomitant drugs are frequently infused simultaneously, necessitating a larger caliber vein to infuse the appropriate volume while minimizing the risk of extravasation.


Reservoirs are frequently used in patients who must be treated for extended periods or require frequent treatment. For example, they are widely used in cancer patients because they eliminate the need for frequent punctures and patients with chronic pathologies requiring the administration of recurrent intravenous medication.


Please consult our website or contact us for more information to explore the universe of possibilities our mobile iv offers.

We have a large catalog of materials for intravenous infusion in all types of routes that are a perfect complement to our infusion pumps and are manufactured with the same criteria of maximum quality in materials and respect for the environment, both during manufacturing and at the time of destruction.

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