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Calculating IV rates: drops per minute (dpm)

Step 1 of 3

Write down the 'total volume to be given' (written on the prescription). Use this formula:

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Calculating IV rates: drops per minute (dpm)

Step 2 of 3

Write down the time over which this is to be given. Remember the formula:

Multiply the number of hours by 60 (minutes in an hour) to find the number of minutes: 10 (hrs) x 60 = 600 minutes

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Calculating IV rates: drops per minute (dpm)

Step 3 of 3

Check the 'drop factor' (determined by the administration set). The drop factor is the 'drops per millilitre' delivered to the patient (commonly 15, 20 or 60 drops/ml). Remember the formula:

Read more about administration sets.

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Calculating IV rates: drops per minute (dpm)

Administration sets

A typical administration set (also called a 'giving set' or 'infusion set'), including tubing, burette, drip chamber and roller clamp. A variety of devices is used to control the volume delivered.

A pump may be available to regulate the IV flow.

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