How Are IV Infusion Rates Calculated?


Quick Answer

Calculate intravenous solution by dividing the total volume infused by the total volume absorbed per hour in millimeters. When regulated by an infusion pump, the infusion rate is measured in millimeters per hour. However, when regulated by a clamp, the infusion rate is measured by the number of drops per minute, according to Nursing Center.

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Full Answer

Infusion rate regulators are used for inactive adults because they are less accurate as compared to infusion pumps. There are two types of intravenous solution administration sets. These are the standard macrodrip and the microdrip. The macrodrip delivers 10 to 20 millimeters while the microdrip administrates 50 to 60 millimeters. An adapter converts a macrodrip set to a microdrip set, states Nursing Center.

Factors affecting infusion rates of intravenous fluid include venous spasm, patient movement, venous pressure changes, clump manipulation and kinked tubing. Monitor these factors to ensure the accuracy of infusion rate. A slow infusion rate causes the insufficient intake of medication and nutrients. A rapid infusion rate causes circulatory overload. Circulatory overload leads to pulmonary edema, heart failure and adverse drug effects, states Nursing Center.

When setting a peripheral line, document the calculated infusion rate. Check the infusion rate of intravenous fluid every hour, and adjust as required. Also inspect the site for complications and monitor patient response, says Nursing Center.

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