How to calculate drops per minute of iv set to adjust ml/min

We have dialer flow in hospitals which are used for ml/hour flow of the i/v fluid that we give to the patient. But in some cases we might require knowing how to adjust the flow without the dialer flow.

For example when you’re in some ambulance where you don’t have any instrument available to calculate or set the flow of the drip set, or when your instruments fail to work properly. In fact even if the instrument is there and works properly, you should know how to estimate the flow of drip set via drops per minute, so that you don’t get victim of faulty apparatus!

How to calculate drops per minute of iv set to adjust ml/min

Sometimes we’re out of dialer flow, in that situation or otherwise just to confirm that the i/v line is working as required in critical patients (is not blocked or so) we should know how to calculate the rate in ml/hour by calculating the drops per minute of the fluid in the drip.

So the question is, how to calculate drops per minute for the i/v set. It’s important to know to adjust the rate at specific ml/min, or simply, how many drops make 1 ml.

Drops in 1ml of liquid

There is high variability among different sources about how many drops are there in 1ml of fluid. Ranging rom 15 to 20. Variability is due to the difference in the viscosity of the fluid being administered. If you’re unsure, average can be taken (17 or 18).

So if you’re advised to give some fluid at 60 ml/hour, make sure that 20 drops of fluid are there in 1 minute, which will make a total speed of 60 ml in 1 hour.

If you’re unsure about any specific fluid that you use commonly, check the flow rate via apparatus and count the drops it gives in the given setting. This will help you for prompt management and flow setting in future when you won’t be having the apparatus.

Hope it all makes sense, let me know if it’s unclear.


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