BACKGROUND: To compare the utility of a targeted smartphone application (TSPA) with a non-programmable calculator (NPC) when calculating fluid drip rates (FDR) and constant rate infusions (CRIs).
METHODS: In a prospective randomised clinical study, 48 fourth-year veterinary students entered one of four parallel groups involving two mock scenarios: fentanyl calculation using an NPC followed by lidocaine calculation using a TSPA, fentanyl (TSPA) followed by lidocaine (NPC), lidocaine (NPC) followed by fentanyl (TSPA) or lidocaine (TSPA) followed by fentanyl (NPC). Students calculated volume of drug added to maintenance fluids and drops/second that correctly administered the drug dose and FDR. Time to completion was assessed using an analysis of variance. A Fisher’s exact test assessed the effect of study period, scenario and device in the proportion of correct/incorrect answers.
RESULTS: Participants took longer to complete the scenarios in period 1 and 2 with the NPC (380.7±195.6 seconds and 488±154.8 seconds, respectively) than the TSPA (247.5±88.8 seconds and 224±94.2 seconds, respectively) (P<0.0031 and P<0.0001). Participants were more likely to complete the scenarios incorrectly with the NPC (n=32) when compared with the TSPA (n=7) (P<0.0001).
CONCLUSIONS: TSPAs are more efficient and accurate when calculating CRIs and FDR compared with conventional methods. Medical mathematics must be emphasised during the veterinary curriculum.Reference:
White, J.F., Scallan, E.M., Lizarraga, I. and Simon, B.T. (2020) Clinical utility of a targeted smartphone application to aid veterinary students in calculating constant rate infusions and perioperative fluid drip rates. The Veterinary Record. April 11th. doi: 10.1136/vr.105805. (Epub ahead of print).