When a 65-year-old patient with a history of atrial fibrillation is admitted to the hospital with a suspected pulmonary embolism, quick and precise medical intervention is vital. The physician orders an intravenous (IV) infusion of heparin at a rate of 700 units per hour. The pharmacy provides a bag containing heparin solution at a concentration of 100 units per milliliter (100 units/mL). To ensure the optimal management of pulmonary embolism, it is crucial to calculate the appropriate milliliters per hour setting on the IV infusion controller. In this article, we will guide you through the steps required to determine the ideal IV controller setting for patients in this critical medical condition.
Understanding Atrial Fibrillation and Pulmonary Embolism
Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heart rhythm that can lead to the formation of blood clots in the heart. These clots can travel to the lungs, leading to pulmonary embolism—a potentially life-threatening condition. Timely treatment is essential to prevent complications.
The Role of Heparin in Pulmonary Embolism Treatment
Heparin is an anticoagulant that helps prevent the formation and growth of blood clots. It is often used in the treatment of pulmonary embolism to reduce the risk of clot propagation and alleviate symptoms.
Calculating the Milliliters per Hour for the IV Controller Setting
To determine the milliliters per hour setting for the IV controller, a series of calculations are necessary. Here are the key steps:
- Calculate the Total Units Needed: The physician has ordered heparin to be administered at a rate of 700 units per hour. To find the total units needed over the entire infusion period, multiply the rate (700 units/hour) by the total time (in hours). In this case, the infusion rate is continuous.
Total Units Needed = Rate (units/hour) x Total Time (hours)
- Calculate the Total Hours for Infusion: To calculate the total hours for the continuous infusion, consider the physician’s orders and the ongoing nature of the infusion.
- Determine the Infusion Rate (mL/hour): To find the infusion rate in milliliters per hour (mL/hour), divide the total units needed by the total hours for the infusion.
Infusion Rate (mL/hour) = Total Units Needed / Total Hours
- Determine the Concentration of the IV Solution: The pharmacy provides a bag containing heparin solution with a concentration of 100 units per milliliter (100 units/mL).
- Calculate the Milliliters per Hour for the Controller Setting: To set the controller to deliver heparin at a rate of 700 units per hour using the provided IV solution, multiply the infusion rate (in mL/hour) by the volume of the IV solution.
Now, to ensure the optimal management of pulmonary embolism, you should set the IV controller to deliver approximately 7 mL per hour.
Nurse’s Responsibilities in Pulmonary Embolism Treatment
Accurate dosage calculation is a fundamental aspect of nursing care, especially in the treatment of patients with pulmonary embolism. Nurses have various responsibilities in the management of patients with this life-threatening condition.
- Patient Assessment: Conduct a thorough assessment of the patient, monitoring vital signs, oxygen saturation, and the severity of pulmonary embolism symptoms. Pay attention to symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, and coughing up blood.
- Informed Consent: Ensure that the patient or their caregiver understands the purpose and expected benefits of the heparin therapy. Obtain informed consent for treatment.
- IV Preparation: Accurately prepare the IV solution, considering the prescribed concentration, rate, and, in this case, the volume to be administered.
- Controller Setting: Set the IV controller to deliver the calculated infusion rate, as demonstrated above. Regularly monitor the controller to confirm that the rate remains consistent.
- Patient Monitoring: Continuously monitor the patient’s symptoms, oxygenation, and response to heparin therapy. Make any necessary adjustments to the infusion rate or other aspects of care.
- Documentation: Maintain precise and comprehensive documentation, noting the IV parameters, vital signs, and the patient’s response to therapy. Accurate record-keeping is essential for continuity of care.
The precise and effective delivery of heparin therapy is crucial in the management of patients with pulmonary embolism. By following the steps outlined in this article, nurses can ensure that patients receive the prescribed heparin infusion at the appropriate rate, helping to prevent the progression of blood clots and improve their overall well-being.