Death by lethal injection is a medical procedure to execute death row criminals. However, a bodybuilder using injectable steroids can also meet the same fate if you do not administer steroids properly, not from the drug, but from the air you leave behind in the vein. It is important to note that not everyone can administer steroids properly by injection. One risks leaving the air in the vein if they're not careful. Such a mistake might turn out to be fatal in the long term. In the ultimate guide to safe steroid injection, we shall look at the proper way to inject steroids without leaving the air in the vein.
Disclaimer: The information in the ultimate guide to safe steroid injection herein does not represent the thoughts of whatsteroids.com. These are the opinions of contributing individuals who have done independent research on the subject. Please consult your doctor before performing any medical procedure mentioned in this article.
Types of Steroid Injections
These are the two main types of injections for people who want to inject steroids directly into the bloodstream;
- Intramuscular injection
- Intravascular injection.
Medically, drug administration through injection of the muscle is an intramuscular injection. The method is not popular; it suits people with certain medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and muscular sclerosis to administer steroids properly. Intramuscular injection is an alternative to intravascular injection. The muscle has a rich supply of blood vessels. A bodybuilder who wants to take this route must know that they can only use it if:
- They cannot locate the vain to which to deliver the steroid
- There is an issue with their digestive system, which would render the steroids ineffective
- There is a possibility that the drug could irritate if delivered to the vain
If the bodybuilder does not have any of the conditions mentioned above, they can proceed to inject the steroid into the vein.
Intravenous steroid injections involve delivering steroids into the vein. Steroids vary in potency, hence the different methods to take them. Do not administer steroids properly into a blood vessel for several reasons. However, most bodybuilders prefer this method because of the following reasons:
- The drug gets into the bloodstream quickly and gives equally fast results, unlike taking it orally
- It is the most effective method where one needs more doses of the steroid over a long period
- It allows the administration of accurate doses
Air embolism is a term used to refer to the accumulation of air bubbles in the vein or artery upon injection. The bubbles could block the vessel or damage parts of the circulatory or respiratory system, sometimes fatally. Once the air bubble forms, it travels to one of the vital organs, such as the heart, brain, or lungs. It could then cause a stroke, among other complications.
The bubble forms during injection and could be due to not using the catheter or syringe. Sometimes its formation is purely accidental. How does the bubble form exactly? We have been answering this in the ultimate guide to safe steroid injection. One of the blood vessels near the surface could get exposed if you do not administer steroids properly, and the pressure outside pushes air into it, thus forming an air bubble.
Air embolism has everything to do with the wrong steroid administration through injection. It could also be due to a damaged vein or artery. You must do the injection as carefully as possible to avoid this problem. We have prepared tips for you to ensure the process is smooth, from the equipment to the injection procedure.
Bodybuilders who resort to taking steroids through intravascular injection must use the right equipment to reduce the risk of doing it wrong. There is a variety of equipment for intravenous steroid injections you need to know. The nature of the equipment used depends on the type of steroid you want to administer. It also depends on the dosage period and the urgency. Here is some equipment you might require.
Tourniquet – this equipment identifies a suitable vein to deliver the steroid.
Access cap- depending on how you want to deliver the steroid, you could use an access cap that opens while administering the drug and closes when done.
Local anesthetic – the pain from injecting a steroid into a vein could be unbearable. In such a case, you will need a local anesthetic to numb the site before injecting it.
Imaging machines – you may need this equipment to ensure the central line is correct.
Intravenous bags and lines – these deliver the drug through infusion
A catheter – is a tube that keeps the vein open while administering the steroid.
The location of blood vessels is addressed in the ultimate guide to safe steroid injection when injecting steroids. Two kinds of blood vessels run through our bodies; peripheral and internal vessels. We shall look at how to administer steroids properly in each vessel.
Peripheral line Steroid Injection Procedure
While most people prefer using the services of a medic to inject steroids, some prefer doing it themselves. Nevertheless, you must follow the correct procedure to avoid problems where there are none. Here is a summary of how to inject steroids into the vein peripherally.
- Inject a clean, sterilized needle into the vein
- Push the catheter into the vein
- Remove the needle slowly and leave the catheter in place
- Deliver the first dose into the catheter and cover it with an access cap to avoid re-injecting
Central Line Steroid Injection Procedure
Medics can locate blood vessels deep inside the body using X-rays and other imaging devices. Our veins of interest in this regard are those found along the torso.
Delivering Into Various Central Lines
- Percutaneous central venous catheter – you can deliver the steroid into an internal vein by inserting the catheter directly.
- Peripherally inserted central catheter – the steroid goes towards the heart by feeding it from near the surface.
- Tunneled line – the needle goes under the skin and delivers the drug a distance from the vein.
- Port – a small reservoir is implanted under the skin and delivers the steroid into the central vein. The port is covered in silicone and allows various doses there.
You can inject the steroid into different sites, but only a couple of them are ideal for the procedure to be effective. Additionally, the dosage period determines the most appropriate place for an injection. For instance, the forearm (elbows, wrist, back of the hand, and upper surface of the foot) are the ideal spots for short-term IV lines.
In case of an urgent need for the drug, the vein found in the neck is the most appropriate. Remember that all central lines feed into the vena cava - the main vein that carries blood to the heart.
Signs and Effects
Air embolism manifests itself in several ways:
Bruising – pockets of air left inside cause sustained damage to the vein. Bruising is when blood looks out from the damaged vein.
Inflammation – the region around the vein shows signs of inflammation, as experienced by 30% of injectable steroid users.
Infection – this advanced stage of air embolism involves bacteria from the skin's surface finding their way into the vein through the catheter.
Irritation – the area could swell and show signs of pain or discoloration.
Extravasation is where the neighboring tissues get damaged due to blood and air leakages from the damaged vein.
Other issues associated with air embolism include blockages and clots.
Diagnosis and Treatment
It is now easy to identify air in blood vessels due to advanced imaging machines such as ultrasounds and CT scans. These devices monitor airway sounds, blood pressure, breathing rate, and heart sounds, The exact location of the bubble is then identified, and take appropriate measures.
Consider a range of treatment options before settling on the most appropriate. Treatment should achieve any or all of the following objectives:
- Resuscitate the patient if they have passed out
- Stop the source of embolism
- Prevent embolism from damaging parts of the body
Here are some treatment options for the condition:
- Put the patient in a sitting position to prevent the bubble from traveling to vital organs such as the brain, heart, or lungs.
- Take drugs such as adrenaline to keep the heart pumping
- Perform surgery to remove the bubble if the situation demands so
- Perform hyperbaric oxygen therapy in a high-pressure steel room that delivers 100% oxygen. The air bubble shrinks and gets absorbed into the bloodstream.
Air embolism from steroid injection could be fatal if you do not take appropriate measures to treat it. However, it is better to prevent it than treat it when the damage has happened. Ensure to follow the drug administration procedures mentioned. Alternatively, consult your doctor first to be on the safe side. It would also help to inquire about safe steroid use from experienced bodybuilders who have been doing it without encountering this condition. Don't forget to check for more informative articles on our blog for safe, successful bodybuilders to administer steroids properly. Hopefully, the ultimate guide to safe steroid injection was helpful.