Glossary Entry: IV Catheter


Definition: An intravenous catheter used for delivering fluids, medication, or blood products directly into the bloodstream. It is a vital tool in medical practice for administering treatments, conducting diagnostic tests, and maintaining hydration in patients.

Detailed Description

Types and Variations

Variations: IV catheters come in various sizes and designs, including peripheral catheters, midline catheters, and central venous catheters. Each variation has specific applications depending on the patient’s medical needs and the duration of treatment.


Common Uses: IV catheters are commonly used in scenarios such as administering medication, providing fluid replacement, delivering blood transfusions, and facilitating diagnostic procedures requiring intravenous access.

Insertion and Placement

Procedure: The insertion of an IV catheter requires aseptic technique and precise placement into a suitable vein. The Seldinger technique is commonly used, involving the insertion of a needle into the vein followed by the insertion of a catheter through the needle.

Clinical Considerations

Potential Complications

Risks: Potential risks associated with IV catheter use include infection, phlebitis, infiltration, and occlusion. Proper monitoring and care are essential to minimize these risks.

Care and Maintenance

Maintenance Requirements: To ensure optimal performance and safety, IV catheters should be regularly flushed with saline or heparin to prevent clotting and maintain patency. Careful monitoring for signs of infection and correct dressing changes are also necessary.

Additional Information

Related Devices

Associated Terms: Other devices commonly used in conjunction with IV catheters include infusion pumps, extension sets, and securement devices to hold the catheter in place.

Innovations and Advancements

Recent Developments: Recent advancements in IV catheters include the development of antimicrobial-coated catheters to reduce the risk of infection and the use of ultrasound guidance for precise placement.

Regulatory and Safety Notes

Regulations: It is essential to adhere to regulatory guidelines and safety protocols related to the use of IV catheters, including proper documentation, monitoring, and reporting of adverse events.