IV is an important part of medical treatment today especially for management of acute illnesses, cancer, anaesthesia, surgery, trauma etc. It is used to deliver fluids (medications) as quickly as possible through the blood stream to the body part in question. Studies have shown that about 25 million of Americans have IVs placed every year. IV may be introduced in the arms, legs or hands.
How Long Should an IV Site be Sore?
Under normal circumstances, the IV site should not be sore. However, it has been seen that in a large number of cases, the IV site remains sore after the procedure. The duration of time for which the site may remain sore depends on the cause of the soreness. These causes are discussed below briefly:
Phlebitis: This is the most common cause of soreness after an IV. It is a condition characterised by localized inflammation over the IV site often caused by localized irritation. It is not a serious condition and the soreness often improves within a week.
Thrombophlebitis as a Cause for IV Site to be Sore: This condition is similar to phlebitis, but it is more serious in nature. It is associated with formation of a clot in the vein. The soreness is often accompanied by a hardened area which corresponds to the site of the clot. Improve in soreness depends on the severity of the condition and can take a couple of weeks to resolve.
Septic Thrombophlebitis: Infection associated with thrombophlebitis is called as septic thrombophlebitis. Treatment may involve hospitalization along with antibiotic therapy. The condition is associated with soreness over the site along with generalized weakness, which resolves once the causative pathogen has been identified and treatment is provided accordingly.
Local Infection Causing the IV Site to be Sore: Soreness associated with local infection from IV insertion can last for a couple of days. It usually depends on the severity and type of organism that causes the condition. Antibiotics often control this condition and thus help in reducing the soreness.
Hematoma: Hematoma is a condition when the catheter may puncture through the vein leading to internal bleeding and pooling of blood. In most of the cases, hematoma resolves within few hours or within a day without treatment.
Nerve Damage: Soreness after an IV can occur due to a nerve injury or nerve irritation during the procedure. Nerve damage often repairs by itself within a few weeks or months.