What Does The SWFI Medical Abbreviation Mean?

In this post, we will be looking at the SWFI medical abbreviation, its meaning, and when it is used.

Medical abbreviations are shorthands used by doctors and other health workers when communicating with one another to make the work of attending to patients easier.

In recent times, modern doctors have been advocating for doctors to cut down on the use of certain medical abbreviations as they cause confusion in inpatient care. Misinterpretation of patients’ prescriptions is among the commonest causes of increased patient mortality in hospitals.

But this does not mean that some medical abbreviations have been phased out completely. You can still find them in patients’ folders during clinics and rotations and you should know what they mean and why they are used.

Table of Contents

What Is The Full Form Of SWFI?

swfi medical abbreviation
Sterile water for injection

The SWFI medical abbreviation stands for “Sterile Water For Injection”. The term water for injection is derived from Latin; aqua ad injectabilia or aqua ad injectionem.

The ordinary water for injection is water of very high quality with minimal contamination. The sterile water for injection is used in preparing solutions that are to be given via injection either in a vein, muscle, or subcutaneously.

The Nature Of The Sterile Water For Injection

Sterile water for injection is a hypotonic solution comprising mainly of water prepared through osmotic distillation. When given intravenously, care must be taken to ensure it is hypotonic because it might result in the breakdown of red blood cells (hemolysis).

Uses of Sterile Water For Injection.

Water for injection is used for many procedures in both medicine and surgery. It is commonly used;

  • For irrigation during surgeries and some other procedures in medicine.
  • It is used in reconstitution for the administration of parenteral medications
  • It is used in the dissolution of solute to make an approximately isotonic solution
  • It is as well used while setting an intravenous line to ensure the cannula is in the blood vessel before administering the medication.

Route Of Administration

Sterile water for injection is administered parenterally only. It must not be injected into the veins. If injected into the veins without being in the hypotonic form, it could cause adverse reactions in the vein.

Some Side-Effects Of Administering Water For Injection:

It could lead to break down of red blood cells (hemolysis) if not hypotonic

This can then lead to kidney problems due to the deposition of blood pigments (hemoglobin) in the renal tubules and glomeruli.

When an excessive volume of water for injection is given, it could lead to fluid overload thereby causing low blood sodium (hyponatremia) and electrolyte imbalance.

It could also result in redness and tenderness of the injection site if not correctly administered parenterally.

Could cause fever, bruising, swelling, or pain at the site of the injection.


Water for injection is stored in the pharmacy or in the ward in a cool dry place where the temperature is always below 25 degrees Celcius.

Where Can You Get Sterile Water For Injection?

Sterile water for injection can be ordered directly from the manufacturers and suppliers in countries like Australia, the United States, the U.K, Australia, etc.

It is also available on your popular e-commerce stores like Amazon at very affordable rates.

Final Words!

The SWFI medical abbreviation stands for sterile water for injection. It is a sterile non-pyrogenic solution of water for injection without any bacteriostatic constituent, antimicrobial property, or added buffer.

It is widely used in hospitals for the constitution of medications, irrigation of surgical sites, and many other uses. Just like any other pharmaceutical product, it also has its side effects and contraindications.

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1 thought on “What Does The SWFI Medical Abbreviation Mean?”

  1. Hello, under the header “The Nature Of The Sterile Water For Injection” SWFI is described as.. “isotonic solution comprising mainly of water prepared through osmotic distillation.” This should be corrected; SWFI is hypotonic.


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