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The easiest formula for calculating drops per minute is: volume in mL x drop factor # of minutes Ex: Doctor’s order: Infuse 500 mL of NS IV over 4 hours. Drop factor: 15gtt/mL How many gtt/min will you regulate the IV? Formula: 500 mL (volume) x 15 (drop factor) = 7500 = 31.25 = 31 gtt/min 4 hr x 60 minutes (must convert to minutes) 240 Notice that 31.25 is rounded to 31, the nearest whole number. This is a rounding rule that you must remember because drops cannot be administered in parts, only in whole drops. Ex: Doctor’s order: Infuse 1000 mL of D5W at 100 mL/hr. Drop factor: 10 gtt/mL How many gtt/min will you regulate the IV? Formula: 100 mL (volume) x 10 (drop factor) = 1000 = 16.666 = 17 gtt/min 1 hr x 60 minutes 60 Notice that when mL/hr is given in the problem, you use that as your total volume. Important point: When calculating gtt/min round to the nearest whole. Calculating Gtt/min for IVPB Medications There will also be times when you will need to use the gtt/min formula for intermittent intravenous medicationsoften called piggybacks (IVPB). These IV medications will be in a certain volume of fluid and directions will be given to administer at a certain rate. You will use the formula in the same way.
Remember the important parts of the formula. They are volume of fluid in mL, drop factor and minutes (time). volume in mL x drop factor # of minutes Ex: Doctor’s order: Cipro 2 g in 125 mL of NS IVPB over 30 minutes Drop factor: 15 gtt/mL How many gtt/min will you regulate the IVPB? Calculating mL/hr for Flow Rates on IV Infusion Pumps IV pumps can also deliver IV fluids based on how many mL/hr the IV fluid is ordered. Ex: Doctor’s order: IV fluid of Normal Saline (NS) to be given at a rate of 125 mL/hr. What rate would you set the pump?
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Nursing, ml, Intravenous therapy, Infusion pump, IV Infusion Pumps