subcutaneous IV fluids?

by Cing_angels Cing_angels (New) New

Specializes in Hospice, Med-surg/Oncology,MDS,QA,LTC.

In regards to the last post about IV fluids, I have always wondered about Subcutaneous IV- I have never seen it done. Can anyone explain how it is inserted and actually hydrates the person?-does it cause the tissues to swell? How does it actually hydrate? Thanks.



474 Posts

I had never heard of it until a few months ago. We had a pt that wanted intermittent hydration but had no IV access. I don't know who recommended that we do sq, but this guy would do it himself in his leg. I never saw the process but his nurse explained that it was just how an animal looks when they've been given sq fluids. There is a huge hump that goes down as the fluid is absorbed into the blood stream.



Specializes in Med-Surg, ER, ICU, Hospice. 296 Posts

I remember from nursing school that a drug called hyaluronidase (no doubt my spelling is wrong after all these years) is added to fluids when given SQ to accelerate absorption. Many years ago while working in Pediatrics we had one older Pediatrician who occasionally gave fluids to babies that way. It was dripped in slowly. The area swelled up of course, and after the drip was stopped the fluids were slowly absorbed. Obviously you can’t give much fluid that way… nor very quickly. It is an archaic way of administering fluid, especially in a hospice setting where peripheral circulation may well be compromised anyway.

leslie :-D

11,191 Posts

i learned this as hypodermoclysis.

it's very effective and a perfectly appropriate alternative when venous access is no longer viable.

this route can also accommodate up to 3 liters of fluid/day, 2 separate sites.

the needle is anchored under the skin, which mostly comprises adipose tissue, rich in blood vessels, enabling asorption.

it works if circulatory shutdown is not an issue.



Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 45 years experience. 11 Articles; 17,290 Posts

last i saw hypodermoclysis used was in early 80's. iv rate was 1 cc to 1 1/2 cc hr. up to 3 liters can be administered, using 2 different sites per day.

hypodermoclysis: an alternative infusion technique - november 1 ...

hypodermoclysis: a way to replace lost fluids - november 1, 2001 ...

ask the experts - what should i know about using hypodermoclysis

is hypodermoclysis used for short-term hydration in.

healthcare practices - subcutaneous fluid administration

Gompers, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU. 2,691 Posts

I wish they'd tried this with my aunt last week. She is on an experimental chemo at Mayo clinic and she got so sick that she was dehydrated and almost comatose. After admission to the hospital, it took ELEVEN hours to get a 24 gauge IV into her. Had I been there, I'd have asked about the possibility of sub Q fluids. She could have died, her electrolytes were so off. She was unconscious as it was.


Has 18 years experience. 8,343 Posts

HDC is quite common in LTC, sub-acute, and Palliative Care in my region. Most of the order I've seen for it have been to allow it to run overnight (20hr to 08) seems to be less disturbing to the patient that way.

LTC's around here don't accept patients that require IV treatments, so its a good way to get around it.

Main thing is to monitor the site for overload and change it as necessary. Just the Eze-set or "butterfly" into subq tissue and away you go.



1 Post

thank you Leslie

Great explanation

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