Calculating IV Drip Rates

Calculator

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

What is an IV drip rate?

A

An IV drip rate is a way of describing the rate of an intravenous infusion based on the number of drops (gtt) that are administered to the patient per minute. This is influenced by the type of the tubing (microdrip or macrodrip), the total volume that is required to be infused, and the time over which the infusion is ordered to run.

Q

What is an IV drop factor?

A

An IV drop factor reflects the specific size of the drops of IV fluid that the tubing set creates. This is a predetermined number based on the tubing required and available to administer the medication. Tubing can be either microdrip or macrodrip.

Q

What is the difference between a microdrip and macrodrip IV tubing?

A

Microdrip IV tubing creates extremely small drip sizes for medications that are potent and must be carefully administered and/or for patient populations that are highly sensitive to large doses of medications (namely, neonatal and pediatric patients). The microdrip drip factor is generally estimated at 60 gtt/mL.

Macrodrip IV tubing is the more standard tubing type, and has larger drops of fluid than microdrip tubing. The macrodrip drip factor is generally somewhere between 10 and 20 gtt/mL.

Q

How do you calculate an IV drip rate?

A

IV drip rate is calculated by this simple formula: IV Drip Rate (gtt/min) = Total Volume (mL)/Time (min) x Drop Factor (gtt/mL)

This equation can also be rearranged to calculate the time required for an infusion, when provided the volume to be infused, the drip rate, and the drop factor.

Critical to perform prior to completing this formula is any conversions required, such as fluid volume provided in liters converted to milliliters, or time for infusion provided in hours converted to minutes.

 

Return to Patient Care Videos

396112278763

 

by Mometrix Test Preparation | This Page Last Updated: August 29, 2022