The following is an overview of key IV concepts which are useful for dosage calculation problems.

Important IV Terms

  • gtts: drops
  • Drop Factor: Number of drops per volume of IV fluid. Varies depending on the tubing used. Usually measured in gtts/mL.
  • Flow Rate: Measure of the flow of liquid from an IV. Usually measured in gtts/minute (how many drops are released every minute) or in mL/hour (how many mL flow through each hour). gtts/minute is used for manually regulating an IV while mL/hour is used when utilizing an electronic IV regulator.

Important IV Abbreviations

  • D: Dextrose
  • W: Water
  • S: Saline
  • NS: Normal Saline (0.9% NaCl)
  • RL or LR: Lactated Ringer's

Example: D5W = 5% Dextrose in Water
Example: D5 NS = 5% dextrose in 0.225% saline solution

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