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Sharp Health News

Understanding infusion therapy

Aug. 15, 2019

Understanding infusion therapy

The recently expanded Outpatient Infusion Center at Sharp Chula Vista features 11 infusion chairs and a holistic environment that promotes healing of the body, mind and spirit.

In health care, infusion therapy is an alternative to oral medication and is a way for caregivers to administer medication, blood or fluids through a sterile catheter inserted into a vein in the body. While infusion is most closely associated with chemotherapy for cancer treatment, there are actually many types of infusions to treat many other conditions.

Glenell Rutkoff, MSN, RN, manager of ambulatory and ancillary services at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, answers some common questions about infusion therapy, which is available at the Douglas & Nancy Barnhart Cancer Center.

What types of infusion are available?
There are many types of medication therapy that can be delivered by infusion, including:

  • Antibiotic or antiviral medications to help treat certain infections
  • Anticoagulation therapy to help reduce the risk of stroke for patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib)
  • Chemotherapy to treat cancer
  • Hydration therapy to replace essential body fluids
What medical conditions can be treated by infusion?
Infusions deliver liquid medication and other solutions directly into the body to treat a wide variety of medical conditions, including:

  • Dehydration
  • Certain infections
  • Cancer
  • Anemia
  • Osteoporosis
  • Autoimmune diseases
Is infusion a temporary or ongoing treatment option?
Most diseases require ongoing management of infusion therapy, and hospitals can provide comprehensive care to include infusion.

How long does infusion therapy typically take?
The length of stay is guided by the medications administered and may vary between 30 minutes and six hours.

What can a person expect from infusion therapy?
Upon beginning infusion therapy, our patients receive a full nursing assessment that includes review of height, weight, vital signs and medical history. The nurse will either start an IV in the patient’s arm or access an existing vascular device. Medications are infused through an infusion pump for accuracy and safety.

Throughout treatment, our nursing staff and pharmacists keep patients and their families informed and educated — all through the enhanced level of care we’re proud to be known for. Our goal is to ensure each patient receives proper care, and is treated with kindness and respect.

The Outpatient Infusion Center at Sharp Chula Vista is located in the Douglas & Nancy Barnhart Cancer Center and provides infusion therapy and other services to treat certain conditions such as cancer, osteoporosis, Crohn’s disease and more. The recently expanded center features 11 infusion chairs and a holistic environment that promotes healing of the body, mind and spirit. To contact a member of the Outpatient Infusion team, please call 619-502-3150.

For the news media: To talk with Glenell Rutkoff about infusion therapy for different treatment options, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at

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