Medical Definition of IV (intravenous)

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/12/2018

IV (intravenous): Within a vein. IV is the abbreviation for "intravenous."

The word "intravenous" is quite properly an adjective. In this guise, it entered the English language around 1849. It means, according to Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, "situated, performed, or occurring within or entering by way of a vein."

Some examples of the use of "intravenous" as an adjective:

  • Intravenous antibiotics refer to the administration into the venous circulation of a solution containing antibiotics;
  • Intravenous immunoglobulin is a sterile solution of concentrated antibodies extracted from healthy people given straight into a vein;
  • An intravenous injection is just that: the giving of something such as drugs into a vein through a syringe.

The accompanying adverb is "intravenously", as in: "The glucose was given intravenously."

The word "intravenous" as a noun refers to an intravenous fluid drip, a solution (usually a balanced electrolyte solution) administered directly into the venous circulation. Also called a drip.

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Reviewed on 12/12/2018