The terms infusion therapy and intravenous (IV) therapy are often interchanged by clinicians and consumers. However, there are disparity between infusion therapy and IV therapy.
In medicine, infusion therapy involves infusing fluids or medications into any part of the body through an infusion device such as a needle or catheter. Infusion therapy routes include epidural infusion (into the membranes surrounding the spinal cord), arterial infusion (into an artery) Intraosseous infusion (into the bone marrow), subcutaneous infusion / hypodermoclysis (under the skin), intraperitoneal infusion therapy (into the peritoneal cavity) Intrathecal (into the intrathecal space) and intravenous route (into the vein).
Intravenous infusion therapy consists of administration of fluids and medications through a peripherally or centrally located venous access device (VAD). Insertion of vascular access devices is an invasive procedure which requires specialized training and skills. Infusion therapy related complications could be debilitating and life threatening. Clinicians involved in any type of infusion therapy also requires knowledge and skills to use and maintain the device, prevent, recognize and manage complications.