Empty IV bags

How to Choose the Right IV Tubing

Those who regularly receive IV infusions in the form of IV fluids, medications, or IV therapy, will quickly notice that there are a couple of different types of IV tubing available. Although we do not recommend self-administering anything in an IV, it is helpful to know about the different types of tubing for your own knowledge. Below, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about IV tubing and how to choose IV tubing.

The 4 Types of IV set Tubing

medical equipmentThere are a few main types of IV tubing. Each type of IV tubing offers its own unique benefits and can be used for different purposes.

  • Filtered IV tubing – features a tiny micron filter that can help filter out any contaminants that may be present in the infusion, such as bacteria, particulate matter, air emboli or any contaminants from the medication or fluid that is being used.
  • Vented IV tubing – features a vent that allows air to enter and displace the IV liquid and prevents the infusion from being delayed.
  • Non-vented IV tubing – is simply the opposite of vented IV tubing. This tubing will not feature a vent. As the liquid drops, there is a creation of vacuum which makes the IV bag shrink. This IV tubing should be primed before use.
  • Gravity IV tubing – is designed to rely on gravity and flow rates to administer IV infusions. It is the most popular IV tubing. An IV bag is suspended on a pole above the patient, so the pressure of gravity can push the solution through the tubing and deliver the solution to the patient’s bloodstream.

Difference between Vented and Non-vented IV Set

hanging bag with IVBecause the Gravity and Filtered IV tubing is pretty straightforward, we will turn our attention to the vented and non-vented IV set.

Vented IV sets

Vented IV sets come with a small vent that can be opened and closed allowing for air to enter and displace the fluid as it leaves. Vented IV sets are designed for use with hard plastic or glass IV containers. IV fluids will only flow from these inflexible containers when the vent is opened.

There are two forces acting on the IV fluid:

  • the force of gravity – pulls down the IV liquid
  • the air pressure produced as air enters the vent – pushes down the liquid as more air enters in the tubing.

The force of gravity increases as the elevation of the IV liquid container increases in elevation and vice versa.

Non-Vented IV Set

This IV set is ideal for use in combination with a flexible plastic IV container as it shrinks and collapses while more and more IV liquid drains from it, hence creating vacuum. As we said before, non-vented IV sets doesn’t have any vents and need to be primed before use to remove any remaining air from it so there won’t be any flow drop or air pockets entering the patient’s blood vessels.

There are also two forces here that act upon the fluid to make the flow possible:

  • the force of gravity
  • the force coming from the collapsing fluid container 

Basically, there is no need for venting because the flexible plastic container allows for the remaining air in its volume to be utilized while creating a vacuum, hence building up pressure that is enough for the flow of the IV fluid to continue freely.

How Do You Choose Which Type is Right for You?

nurse preparing an IV bag at homeThe good news is, you won’t ever have to choose your IV tubing — unless, of course, you’re a nurse who is administering infusions to a patient. You should never administer your own IV infusions, but if you receive at home infusions and you’d like to purchase your own supplies, you may want to ask your nurse what type of tubing they recommend because this can vary depending on the type of medication or infusion you will be receiving.

Where Can You Get IV Tubing?

IV tubing can be purchased online from some retailers, or you can acquire it through the help of a home health nurse.

The Risks of Self-Administering IVs

Self-administering IV infusions can lead to serious medical complications and even death. We always recommend having a skilled nurse perform any IV infusions and never attempt these procedures on your own.

For Safe and Professional IV Therapy, Try Drip Hydration

Drip Hydration is an at-home IV therapy service that offers wellness infusions such as vitamins and minerals as well as IV hydration therapy. Our services include the support of a certified nurse who is expertly trained in IV administration. With Drip Hydration, you can experience the benefits of IV therapy without having to leave the comfort of your own home.

In-Home IV Treatments With Drip Hydration

Our mobile IV infusions are a convenient way to restore key vitamins and replenish your body quickly. Our vitamin IV treatments take less than an hour and are administered by one of our registered nurses.

Click the button below to schedule your appointment today!