Understanding the Different Types of IV Sets and How They Are Used

An IV set is a collection of devices used to administer fluids and medications via an intravenous catheter. IV sets come in various styles depending on the patient's needs, but they all have one thing in common: they are an essential part of delivering safe and effective medical care.

The most common types of IV sets include filtered, vented, non-vented, and gravity tubing. Each type has its unique benefits, so it's important to understand how they work so you can make informed decisions about what type will work best for your patient.

We'll cover the differences between these types in this blog so you can make sure you're choosing the right set for your patient's needs.

What are IV sets?

IV sets are a type of healthcare equipment that is used in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. IV sets are used to administer medications or fluids to a patient via intravenous (IV) access.

IVs are made up of a fluid-filled bag, a tube that the fluid flows through, and a needle that is used to inject the fluid into the veins. Meanwhile, the rate at which fluid is drawn from the bag and given to the patient is managed by an intravenous pump.

Together, these constituents form what are known as intravenous (IV) sets. IV kits are designed to make initiating an IV as simple and risk-free as possible. There are several varieties of IV sets, each designed for a particular situation or combination of circumstances. Knowing how to utilise the various IV sets available is essential for caring for patients.

Types of IV Sets and Their Applications

IV sets are used for intravenous therapy and include tubing and the needle or catheter. The type of IV set you need depends on the type of fluid you need to administer, as well as its viscosity and flow rate.

There are several different types of IV sets available for use in hospitals and other medical settings, including:

Filtered IV Sets

A filtered IV set has a filter in the tubing that prevents any foreign matter from entering the bloodstream. This is important because it ensures that the patient receives only sterile solutions through their IV. Filtered IV sets are mainly used when there is a risk of infection or contamination.

There is a wide range of drugs and solutions that are compatible with these IV setups. They use filters ranging in size from .22 to 5 microns, giving them much flexibility regarding what they can filter out. Filtered UV sets remove particles of any size, from the tiny to the large.

Vented IV Sets

There is a little blue hole in the side of the vented IV sets. The lid may be opened and closed by medical staff to let air in, displacing the fluid as it exits.

These IV kits must be stored in rigid plastic or fluid-proof glass containers. A fluid contained in a hard container will not escape unless the container is equipped with some sort of air release mechanism. The air intake vent is often installed on the drip chamber during manufacturing.

There are two forces at work on the fluid in vented IV systems, allowing it to flow:

  • the pull of gravity
  • the air pressure created by air passing through the vent

The fluid is pushed downward by gravity and the air pressure from the vented IV set. Gravity rises when you raise a bag or container of fluid, causing the fluid to flow more quickly. When medical staff lowers the bag or bottle of liquids, the opposite occurs.

Non-Vented IV Sets

A non-vented IV set does not include a removable air vent.

This sort of intravenous set is required for use with flexible plastic containers. Before attaching a non-vented IV set to a patient, the tubing must be filled with IV fluid to eliminate the presence of air. As the IV bag empties, the tubing produces a vacuum, causing the bag to collapse.

Non-vented intravenous sets rely on two forces acting on the fluid to allow it to flow:

  • the force of gravity
  • the pressure generated by the fluid's container when it collapses

The collapsing force is absent in fixed fluid containers like bottles and plastic tubing. This causes stagnation in the fluid. Venting the bottle or other stationary fluid container allows air to enter, triggering the fluid to flow.

Gravity Tubing

Gravity tubing is the most common type of IV set used in hospitals today. It consists of a plastic bag hung from a pole or hook, which holds it in place at a certain height above the patient's bed. The fluid is pushed through the tube and into the patient's bloodstream by gravity's force. Gravity tubing is used for delivering fluids and medications that do not need to be administered quickly because gravity will help move them from the bag down into the patient's vein at a slow but steady rate.


IV sets play a vital role in the healthcare industry, and you must choose the right one for your patient's needs. Paragon Care can provide a wide range of IV sets for your patient's needs—from the most common to the most complex. We can help you with everything from choosing the right type of IV set for your patient to finding other healthcare equipment to accompany them. We also offer a range of high-quality surgical equipment Australia-wide.

If you want more information about how Paragon Care can help your hospital stock its IV sets, contact us today.