What Are The Differences Between Intravenous (IV) and Blood Administration Sets?

What Are The Differences Between Intravenous (IV) and Blood Administration Sets?

Brief descriptions

IV administration set

IV administration set provides healthcare workers with fast and effective means to deliver fluids and medications to patients. This device helps those afflicted with dehydration and electrolyte imbalances and in dire need of certain drugs.

Three factors determine which type of IV administration set to use:

(1) the desired rate,

(2) the type of infusion, and

(3) the type of IV solution container to be used.

Two types of drip sets provide different rates of infusions. The macro IV set delivers the solution in large quantities at rapid rates. The micro IV set conveys a smaller amount with each fluid drop.1 

Blood administration set

Blood administration or blood transfusion set delivers measured and regulated blood to patients during medical procedures and surgical operations.2 

Basic parts

IV administration set

iv set structure

The essential parts of the IV administration set are (1) spike, (2) drip chamber, (3) flexible tube, (4) roller clamp, (5) Y-connector, (6) injection site, (7) Luer-lock connector, and (9) needle.3

Blood administration set

The essential parts of the blood administration set are (1) spike, (2) drip chamber with blood filter, (3) flexible tube, (4) roller clamps, (5) injection site, (6) Luer-lock connector, and (7) needle.2,3 

structure of blood transfusion sets

Specific uses

IV administration set

  • To deliver intravenous fluids. Individuals and patients need to receive intravenous fluids if they suffer from severe loose bowel movements or severe dehydration due to extreme physical exercises or activities. Their blood pressures go down—and they may die from it—without replacing the lost fluid. An intravenous administration set needs to be used to deliver the replacement fluid(s).      
  • To deliver limited parenteral nutrition. Some patients confined in the hospital cannot take their daily meals and foods because of obstructions along the gastrointestinal tract. These obstructions occur because of growing cancer, healing of the previous ulcer in the stomach or duodenum, or adhesions as complications of prior surgery. These patients need to take their foods through the intravenous administration set to prolong their lives.     
  • To administer drugs or drugs (continuous or intermittent). Some diseases require immediate and fast administration of drugs lest they die. Examples of these diseases are acute asthmatic attack, the severe elevation of blood pressure, or shock due to severe loss of fluid. These life-saving drugs reach the systems of the patients through the intravenous administration set.  
  • To serve as prophylactic use before procedures. Patients scheduled for surgical operations need to have intravenous administration set hooked into their hands or arms. It will serve as a conveyance route for fluid, electrolytes, or drugs that the patient will eventually need while undergoing an operation. Suddenly, the patient needs an immediate infusion of these substances. Hence, hooking an intravenous administration set to the patient before having surgery or any necessary medical procedure saves life-saving time for the patient.
  • To serve as prophylactic use for unstable patients. Patients suffering from heart, kidney, liver diseases, or cancer can have life-threatening problems all of a sudden. Life-saving drugs and fluids need to be delivered so fast that they can save lives. Hence, an intravenous administration set hooked to the patient before having problems will turn out to be a life-saving action.4   

Blood administration set

  • To administer blood and blood products. Patients suffering from severe blood loss require immediate blood replacement. Hence, health workers use the blood administration set.4  


IV administration set

  • Replace the set every 72 hours to avoid infusate-related bloodstream infections (BSI).5
  • Never insert the cannula of the IV administration set in an area where there is inflammation or infection.4
  • Patients suffering from renal failure need to use their forearm veins with bigger diameters. Never use the smaller veins.4
  • Never infuse irritant drugs into small veins with slow and low flow rates.4  

Blood administration set

  • Blood administration sets used in transfusions requiring multiple units of blood need replacement at least every 12 hours.6
  • Blood administration sets should not be piggy-backed into other lines.7

Benefits and advantages

IV administration set

  • Brings about the immediate treatment effect of the drug-infused into the patient.
  • It allows the healthcare workers to control the fluid flow rate and thus attain the optimal and desired effects of the drug.
  • Spares and frees the patients from experiencing pain and irritation during the fluid and medicine infusion.  
  • Accelerates the removal of toxins from the body and improves the healing process.
  • Removes the blockages and obstructions in the arteries and thus improves blood circulation.
  • Prevents the growth and spread of cancerous cells.8   

Blood administration set

  • Prevents the entry of blood clots, small clumps of platelets, and white blood cells into the circulatory system of the patient because of its highly specialized filter.2,7
  • Provides correct and precise results.
  • Ensures safe and reliable blood transfusions.
  • Offers a variety of sizes and tube lengths.
  • Equipped with an accurate and dependable flow controller that provides steady and healthy pacing of blood flow.2

Summary of the differences

Points of differencesIV administration setBlood administration set
Substances infusedFluids, electrolytes, drugs, and medicationsOnly blood
Piggy-backing attached as a secondary lineAllowedNot allowed, if possible
Schedule of replacementEvery 72 hoursEvery 12 hours
The pore size of the filter15-micron filters170-260 micron filters
Filtered substancesParticulates, debris, or pathogenic microorganismsBlood clots, small clumps of platelets, white blood cells

Basic rules to follow for peripheral venous cannulation

Peripheral venous cannulations involve either the IV administration set or the blood administration set, or both. Consider the following factors before using any one of them:

  • You establish the need for using peripheral venous cannulations. If there are other ways of delivering the fluids or medications, use the more straightforward routes or methods.
  • If you have decided to set up peripheral venous cannulation, get the patient’s consent and explain to him the possible complications.
  • Select the right size of the cannula.
  • Select the right vein to use.4  

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