REQUIREMENTS FOR INTRAVENOUS SOLUTIONS/INTRAVENOUS
Any solution administered through a patient's veins must be:
a. Sterile. Sterile means that no living microorganisms are present in the
b. Pyrogen-Free. Pyrogens are substances that produce fever when injected
into the circulatory system.
c. Free from Visible Particulate Matter. Visible particles in an intravenous
preparation mean that the product should be discarded. These particles could have
been present in the solution when it arrived in the pharmacy or they may have been
accidentally added to the solution when other substances were added. Regardless of
origin, these visible particles, if intravenously administered, could cause a blockage in
the patient's circulatory system. Filters with very small pores are available which can
remove these visible particles as the product is being administered. Remember, the
origin of the particles is unknown-it is possible that some particles could be undissolved
drug. Removing the drug particles would be good, but if the filtered particles are
undissolved drug, by removing them you may be lowering the amount of drug in the
PRECAUTIONS FOR USING FLUID THERAPY
You will likely be in a position to administer or supervise administration of fluid
therapy. Some precautions will be beyond your control, but most will be your
responsibility. Carefully watch for the pitfalls shown below, to make sure that the
intravenous infusion does the patient more good than harm.
a. Contamination. A solution intravenously administered to a patient must be
free from living microorganisms. You have a responsibility for using the aseptic
technique. When there is doubt about the sterility of the admixture (or intravenous
solution), the product should be discarded. Microorganisms are present in the
environment of the hospital room. They are on the hands of the person who will start
(that is, begin the administration) the intravenous product. Therefore, this person is
responsible for using care and aseptic technique to make the venipuncture.
b. Irritating Drugs. The veins are very sensitive. Therefore, any intravenous
product which has an extreme pH or which is very concentrated can irritate the veins.
In some cases, the physician can decide to place the drug in another intravenous
solution resulting in a pH that will not irritate the veins as much. In other cases, the site
can be changed frequently to allow the part of the vein just used to recover.