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Clinical utility of a targeted smartphone application to aid veterinary students in calculating constant rate infusions and perioperative fluid drip rates
  1. Joel F White1,
  2. Elizabeth M Scallan2,
  3. Ignacio Lizarraga3 and
  4. Bradley T Simon2
  1. 1 Student Body, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA
  2. 2 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences,Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA
  3. 3 School of Veterinary Medicine, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to Dr Bradley T Simon; bsimondacvaa{at}


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.

  • constant rate infusion
  • education
  • fluid therapy
  • medical error
  • smartphone
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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval This study was approved by the Human Research Protection Program at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (TAMU) (IRB2016-0318D).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available on reasonable request. Data may be obtained from Dr Bradley Simon,

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