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What Happens If An IV Drip Runs Out

What Happens if an IV Drip Runs Out?

Will air in the IV tube enter the blood stream in the vein once the fluid is depleted?

Gravity Fed IV - Sometimes a person is given fluids intravenously and the liquid to be injected is often stored in bags hung above the patient. The substance gravity feeds from the bag through plastic tubing to the needle. The flow of IV fluid is usually adjusted by clips that can be connected to the tube that runs to the needle end

Air embolism is one complication that can occur during an intravenous injection. This happens when a large quantity of air enters the blood stream. However IV bags are not rigid - they collapse as they empty. A properly primed line connected to a patient is a closed system - there is no air that can get into the line as the bag empties. If you look at the tube, you will see that a small amount of fluid remains in the tubing, thus, no air gets into the patient. Also the back pressure of blood in a patient's vein will reach an equal pressure with the air and blood usually backs up into the IV tubing.

Is it safe for me to close the clamp when I see the blood start to go up the tubing? There is no reason for you to worry about that as the blood will only back up so far, it's not like you will fill the bag with blood. The back-flow is normally just a small length then it evens out with gravity. The nurse however should however, flush your port before they put up a new bag if you have blood backup in the tubing.

IV Pumps - There are many different IV pumps and most will sound an alarm and shut off if the bag runs dry before the air gets to the patient.