Intravenous means being positioned within, performed
within, administered within, or occurring within a vein or
veins. A vein is a blood vessel that carries blood to the
heart. When a needle or catheter (flexible, hollow tube)
goes inside a vein, this is an example of something that
is intravenous. Some medical techniques, such as an
intravenous pyelogram, require intravenous access to
inject a substance known as contrast which helps
visualize the urinary tract.
An intravenous line.
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Mostly, intravenous access is used for therapeutic purposes, such as administering a
medication (e.g., to treat cancer), administering fluids (e.g., in cases of dehydration) and
performing a blood transfusion. Intravenous medication can be quickly pushed in with a
syringe or it can be set to slowly drip in via a bag hanging from a pole connected to the

Intravenous access may be preferred for several reasons including: a) the need to
quickly get the medication into the bloodstream, and  b) the patient may not be able to
swallow the medication for various reasons such as being a child, being placed on fluid
restrictions, being unable to swallow while conscious (e.g., due to a sore throat), and
being unable to swallow due to being unconscious. Intravenous is commonly abbreviated
as I.V. or i.v. Intravenous is also known as endovenous. Intravenous comes from the
Latin word "intra" meaning "within," and the Latin word "vena" meaning "vein."
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