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Drip Rate – Regulation, Calculation, and Monitoring



The nurse is responsible for maintaining the proper flow rate while assuring the comfort and safety of the patient. The physician prescribes the flow rate. He indicates the amount of solution to be infused within a specified period of time. The rate is then determined on the basis of drops of solution to be infused every minute. This is called the DRIP RATE.

The drop factor, or drops per milliliter of solution is determined by the size of the opening in the infusion apparatus. It varies with the company producing the product. Most health agencies use the products of a single company. The most common drop factor are 10, 15, 20, and 60 drops per milliliter. Sixty drops milliliter is used most often when small fluid volumes are important such as with infants and small children. Adapters are also available that may be added to common infusion tubings to reduce the size of the drops.

A method for determining flow rate for an intravenous infusion is given below:

Legend:

gtts – drops
min – minute
hr – hour
ml – milliliter

To get the amount to infuse each hour

Formula:

driprate-ex1

Example:

A physician prescribes 1000 ml of solution to be infused in a 10-hour period. Using the above formula, determine the amount to infuse each hour as follows:

driprate-ex2

To get the amount to infuse each minute

driprate-ex3

Example:

The drop factor is 15 and the amount of solution to be infused each hour is 100. Using the above formula, determine the number of drops to infuse each minute as follows:

driprate-ex4

To get the number of mins/hrs to complete an infusion

Formula:

driprate-ex5

Example:

You have 500 ml of solution with a drip rate of 20 gtts/min, and calibrated with a  drop factor of 15 gtts/ml. Using the above formula, determine the number of hours it will take for the infusion to run out as follows:

driprate-ex6

Now you got the number of minutes it will take for the infusion to complete. To get the number of hours:

driprate-ex7

External Links

Drip Rate Calculator
IV Infusion Time Calculator

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