Our industry-leading doctors are equipped with the latest knowledge and techniques to help you through this treatment. We can serve all of your hematology, oncology, and rheumatology disorders by offering chemotherapy, biotherapy, immunotherapy, and adjunctive support at our infusion centers.
What is Infusion Therapy?
Infusion therapy uses a needle or catheter to pass fluids into the veins to treat a condition or disease. Most think of chemotherapy when hearing the term the most common use of infusion therapy is the delivery of fluid to combat dehydration.
Infusion therapy is an alternative to oral treatment or when the disease responds better to medication infusions. Infusion therapy can deliver antibiotics, antiviral medications, vitamins, water, saline solution, electrolytes, anti-fungal medications, and more intravenously.
In addition to standard medications and available treatments, infusion therapy is ideal for delivering many specialty drugs such as custom pharmaceutical compounds for chemotherapy and the delivery of radiopharmaceuticals in nuclear medicine imaging.
What is Infusion Therapy for Cancer?
Infusion therapy for cancer is often part of chemotherapy, but the two are not the same. Specialty medications are created by the pharmacist and then infused into the patient through an IV tube as part of chemotherapy are delivered via infusion therapy. But chemotherapy is called a systemic or body-wide treatment.
Why Would Someone Need a Blood Infusion?
Some blood diseases require regular infusions of blood. The reasons could include treating a severe infection, liver disease, or an illness causing anemia. Certain medications and radiation can also cause anemia, which may result in the need for an infusion.
What is the Difference Between an Infusion and Transfusion?
The two terms are similar in that both refer to the movement of blood or other fluids via IV, but the term transfusion applies only to blood. The blood itself is said to be transfused, but the method is via infusion.
What Can Patients Expect When Receiving Infusion Therapy?
Infusion therapy involves inserting a plastic tube into the patient’s blood vein to receive the fluids to be infused. Trained therapists will insert the tube using a specialized needle set and then secure the tubing to the patient’s wrist or arm.
Depending on the fluids to be transfused, the nature of the disease treated, and the medications added, the procedure can take anywhere between half an hour to several hours. Much depends on the precise treatment to be given.
Your Physician or their assistant can explain the entire procedure to you beforehand if you like. Feel free to ask us anything about the treatment you desire. We want you to be as comfortable as possible with your treatments.
How Can You Prepare for Infusion Therapy?
Although most of the preparation for your infusion therapy takes place here, behind the scenes, there are a few things patients may want to do for their comfort. Here are a few.
- If your procedure is extensive, we recommend bringing something to read. If you bring your cell phone for a long-duration infusion, get a backup battery pack, for we cannot guarantee access to an outlet for charging.
- Wear comfortable but appropriate clothing, and bring along a light jacket. Some fluids cause chills, and a light jacket is nice.
- Unless your provider or nurse tells you to fast ahead of time, make sure you eat well.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Although you will be receiving fluids, administering the IV will be easier for both the technician and yourself if you are adequately hydrated beforehand.
- Get plenty of rest. Proper rest before getting an infusion will help.
- Provide full disclosure of your medical history, including all drugs you take, over-the-counter, prescription, or illicit.
How Long Does a Chemotherapy Infusion Take?
The length of time a chemotherapy infusion takes depends on many factors including,
- The medication(s)
- Treatment protocols
- How the treatment must be administered
Treatments for chemotherapy can take anywhere from an hour to 10 hours. Your doctor can give you a better idea how long your chemotherapy infusion will take when scheduling your appointment.