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Intravenous (IV) infusion is a common method of administering medications and fluids directly into a patient’s bloodstream. This allows for precise dosing and quick absorption compared to oral routes. Typically, an IV bag contains the dilute medication or fluid mixture that infuses slowly through the tubing into the catheter over a period of time. However, for urgent medication delivery, there is a faster technique called IV push or IV bolus.

IV push involves injecting a medication directly into the IV line over a matter of seconds or minutes. This allows the drug to reach the patient’s circulation rapidly compared to slow IV infusions that can take hours. The quick onset of action and specificity of dosing makes IV push ideal for many situations. This article will examine the benefits, proper techniques, and applications of administering medications intravenously using the IV push method.

Benefits of IV Push

IV push offers several advantages over regular slow IV infusion of medicines:

  • Rapid Onset: The medication reaches the bloodstream quickly, allowing for fast therapeutic effects often within minutes. This makes it ideal for cases where urgent treatment is needed.
  • Precise Control: Doses can be administered and titrated to effect accurately with IV push. The provider can give set amounts in milligrams and adjust as needed. This level of control is more difficult with IV bags.
  • Avoid Incompatibilities: Some medications can be unstable or incompatible when mixed together in IV fluids. IV push avoids this issue by separately injecting the drugs.
  • Minimal Setup: It requires only a syringe and IV port without additional tubing, pumps, or infusion bags. This simplified setup facilitates easy administration.
  • Cost Effective: Not needing infusion equipment and capability for fractional dosing can reduce medication waste and costs.

These advantages allow precise control over intravenous medications, especially when rapid effects are clinically indicated.

How IV Push is Administered

The process for giving an IV push is straightforward:

First, the medication is drawn up from its vial into a syringe in the exact dose prescribed. This may be in milligrams or based on the patient’s weight. Air bubbles are expelled from the syringe. The nurse or provider then disinfects the IV injection port with an alcohol wipe.

Next, the syringe tip is inserted into the port while taking care not to contaminate the parts. The plunger is depressed slowly over the appropriate time period, usually 1-2 minutes for safety. This steadily injects the medication into the IV catheter directly into the vein.

Afterwards, the empty syringe is removed and the injection port is flushed with normal saline to clear any remaining medication from the IV line and keep the line patent. The patient is monitored for the desired effects as well as any potential adverse reactions.

Applications and Uses of IV Push

IV push can be used to administer a wide variety of urgent or first-line medications intravenously across medical fields:

  • Anesthesia induction agents like propofol are often given as IV push to quickly induce sleep before intubation.
  • Opioid painkillers like morphine, hydromorphone, or fentanyl are pushed for faster pain relief in medical or postoperative settings.
  • Antiemetic drugs like ondansetron are given IV push to provide quick relief for severe nausea and vomiting.
  • Benzodiazepines like midazolam or lorazepam are pushed before procedures for fast anxiolysis and sedation.
  • Seizure rescue medications such as valproic acid or levetiracetam can be given IV push to stop status epilepticus.
  • Vasopressor agents like epinephrine or dopamine are pushed in codes and shock states to raise blood pressure immediately.

In the emergency department, ICUs, and operating rooms, providers often use the IV push technique for rapid medication effects in critical situations. It offers versatility and precise control.

Considerations and Administration Tips

While IV push has many benefits, proper technique is vital for safe administration:

  • Ensure IV line is patent before injecting any medication.
  • Inject slowly over 1-2 minutes to avoid negative cardiovascular effects.
  • Use aseptic technique when accessing ports to prevent infection.
  • Flush line with 0.9% normal saline before and after IV push.
  • Frequently reassess IV site for signs of infiltration or phlebitis.
  • Observe closely for therapeutic effects and adverse reactions.
  • Be aware IV push presents a higher risk of phlebitis and extravasation injury due to higher medication concentrations.

Following standards and pharmaceutical guidelines for the individual drugs helps reduce complications. Additional considerations for IV push include using central lines for vesicant or irritant drugs and limiting doses in pediatric patients. Overall, proper IV push technique allows providers to deliver medications rapidly and precisely when time is critical.

IV push or bolus administration is an efficient method to give urgent intravenous medications by direct injection into the IV catheter. This technique results in faster onset of action compared to slow infusions due to rapid entry into the bloodstream. Benefits also include precise dosing control and avoiding IV fluid incompatibilities. However, IV push requires skillful technique and close monitoring to be performed safely. When used appropriately and with care, IV push provides a fast, versatile option for delivering a variety of important IV medicines. Understanding the proper applications and techniques of IV push can improve delivery of vital medications.