Intravenous Fluids can supply two things: fluid volume,
electrolytes, nutrients, and medications. These fluids are
usually provided to: 1)Acutely expand intravascular volume;
2) To correct an underlying imbalance in fluids or
electrolytes or 3) to compensate for an ongoing problem
that is affecting either fluids or electrolytes; 4) give
nutrition supplement or parenteral feeding; 5)act as medium
for infusion of medicine.
Controlling the infusion rate of IV fluids is a simple, yet
an important calculation. Calculating the drip rate depends
on the type of tubing that is being used.
Two types of tubing:
Standard adult tubing 0 has a drip factor of either 10
gtts/ml of 15 gtts/mL.
has a drip factor of 60 µgtts/mL.
used for pediatric patients because it helps to
maintain a closer watch on fluid volumes so as not to
overload them. It is also used to precise infusion
rates of drip medications.
Drip Rate Formula:
gtts/min = Volume to be infused in one hour x gtts/mL for drip factor
Infusion time (60 minutes)
1. An IV is initiated to a patient, the doctor want to
set a TKVO (to keep vein open) rate, about 30 mL per
hour. Using a macrodrip tubing with a drip factor of
15 gtts/mL. What is the drip rate?
Gtts/min = 30mL/hr x 15 gtts/mL
= 7.5 gtts/min 8 gtts/min
2. An IV fluid is given to a child, and a physician gives
an order to run the Iv at 50 mL/hr. Using the
microdrip tubing with a drip factor of 60 gtts/mL,
what’s the drip rate?
Gtts/minute = 50 mL/hr x 60 µgtts/mL
= 50 µgtts/min
3. The physician orders IV fluids to hydrate a client.
The order is written as “D5NS 4 Liters over 24 hours.”
Looking at the package indicates the drip factor of
the tubing is 15 gtts/mL What is the drip rate?
Convert first the time, from hour to minutes:
24 (hr) x 60 (minutes) = 1440 minutes
gtts/minute = 4000 mL/hr x 15 gtts/mL
= 41.66 gtts/min 42 gtts/min
Source: 2001 Intravenous therapy CME Package, York Region base hospital Program Markham