Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress


April 11, 2024


The administration of intravenous (IV) fluids, medications, nutritional supplements, and blood components is common in the hospital setting. Over the years, more intravenous therapy has occurred in ambulatory healthcare facilities. Ambulatory care providers usually order IV therapy for the following reasons:

• To provide fluids and electrolytes (also called hydration therapy): One of the most common reasons for IV fluid (or solution) infusions is to treat dehydration. Dehydration can occur from reduced fluid intake, diarrhea, vomiting, and heat related illnesses.
• To treat conditions: IV medications can be used for many different conditions, including infections, cancer, osteoporosis, iron deficiency anemia, and autoimmune disorders (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ulcerative colitis). IV medications reach the blood stream immediately, providing rapid action. Some medications only come as IV medications.
• For diagnostic tests: IV contrast media can be given for some diagnostic tests, including computerized axial tomography (CT) scans and intravenous pyelograms.

Providing IV therapy in ambulatory care facilities is an inexpensive option compared to hospitalizing patients.
State laws vary on the role of medical assistants regarding starting and monitoring IV fluid infusions and administering IV contrast media. It is important for medical assistants to know the state laws and the healthcare facility’s policies before working with IVs. In this chapter, the techniques for preparing and administering IV fluids will be the primary focus. Administering IV medications, such as chemotherapy and antibiotics, is outside the medical assistant’s scope of practice.
In previous chapters, you learned the basics of pharmacology and how to prepare and administer injections. To administer IV fluid therapy, you will need to apply the nine rights of medication administration you learned in Chapter 15.