IV Fluid Calculation Cheat Sheet

How to calculate IV flow rates:

Intravenous fluid must be given at a specific rate, neither too fast nor too slow. The specific rate may be measured as ml/hour, L/hour or drops/min. To control or adjust the flow rate only drops per minute are used.

The burette contains a needle or plastic dropper which gives the number of drops per ml (the drop factor). A number of different drop factors are available (determined by the length and diameter of the needle).

Common drop factors are:

10 drops/ml (blood set), 15 drops / ml (regular set), 60 drops / ml (microdrop).

To measure the rate we must know:

(a) The number of drops

(b) Time in minutes.

The formula for working out flow rates is:

volume (ml) X drop factor (gtts / ml)

————————————————–      = gtts / min (flow rate)

                           time (min)        


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