IV sets: Usage and a brief history of IV fluid therapy

Medical establishments use Intravenous (IV) sets to administer fluid therapy and to provide medicines and blood products such as platelets. This procedure is called infusion therapy. IV sets use a process called gravity infusion to conduct the above procedures.

Nowadays, the use of IV sets is seen as a standard routine in hospitals. However, before 1830 the advantages of intravenous fluid therapy weren’t known. A Scottish doctor by the name of Dr. Thomas Latta of Leith established the intravenous fluid therapy. He found the system while treating his patients in the United Kingdom who were afflicted by cholera from 1831-32. However, theories which resulted in the development of the therapy can be linked back to the Middle Ages.

English physician, William Harvey was the first person to understand the human anatomy and the circulatory system thoroughly in 1628. Successive examinations conducted on humans and animals led Dr. Latta to develop the IV fluid theory. Despite the initial affirmative reaction towards IV infusion therapy, it was not used after Dr. Latta’s death for two main reasons. One, a decrease in the cholera epidemic after which doctors did not feel the need to implement the procedure and secondly, many physicians were skeptical about the procedure.

Paramedics and doctors use IV sets in their treatment procedures when they are responding to medical situations via air and land ambulances. They also use the device to diagnose traumatic injuries. Over a decade ago, it was believed that this device would be used to provide fluid boluses in case of medical shocks and traumatic injuries.

Presently, this equipment is used in a measured manner. They are used to maintain the base blood pressure levels of the patient, reducing the risk of fluid overload. In a pre-hospital care setup, two types of IV sets are used, out of which the most commonly used set is the saline IV set. The saline set is used for providing non-blood products and devices which transfer blood products.

An IV set consists of the following parts: Luer connector, tubing, injection port, V-track controller, filter, drip chamber, access port, and spike.

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