This IV flow rate calculator establishes the right drip rate at the iv rate you prescribe taking account of drop factor, volume and time. Discover more on the subject and learn how to perform the required calculations below the form.

Volume ordered:*
Flow/drop factor:*

How does the IV flow rate calculator work?

This is a health tool that allows you to compute the intravenous flow rate based on the volume that needs to be administered in mL, the time frame in either minutes or hours and the flow factor in gtts/mL. Therefore you can ensure that the administration will go at the prescribed rate.

The algorithm in the IV flow rate calculator is based on the following formula:

IV flow rate (gtts/min) = Volume (mL) x Flow factor (gtts/mL) / Time (min)

Example IV calculation

Taking into account that a volume of 1000 mL Iv Saline is administered by a flow factor of 15 drops/mL over a period of 8 hours or 480 min. Let’s calculate how many drops per minute should the IV work on:

IV flow rate = 1000 x 15 / 480

IV flow rate = 31.25 gtts/min

Other considerations

There are several types of intravenous infusions from those using manual control and gravity to the infusion pumps and all these require the IV rate to be established beforehand. Beside the volume and time of administration, the appropriate drop rate needs to be decided, which is the calibration of the micro or macrodrip used.

Most common tubings are macrodrip and have a drop factor of 15 gtts/mL but there are also others available with factors of 10, 20 and even 60 which is microdrip. As their names call for, the microdrip is used for infusing small amount of fluid with a great precision while the macrodrip is used to large volumes that need to be infused quickly.

References and sources available

  • Bentz, P. M. & Ellis, J. R. (2007): Modules for basic nursing skills (7th edition). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  • Duell, D. J., Martin, B. C., & Smith, S. F. (2004): Clinical nursing skills: Basic to advanced skills (6th edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

17 May, 2015