Drug calculations

The dosages of resuscitation drugs are expressed in a number of ways and this can be confusing.

• Standard weight - for example, atropine 3mg.

• Solution strength - this requires both a volume and a solution strength to be prescribed; for example, 50 ml of 8.4% sodium bicarbonate. Where a drug dose is expressed as a percentage, it means grams per 100 ml. So, for example, sodium bicarbonate 8.4% contains 8.4 g of sodium chloride in 100 ml of solution. Therefore a 50 ml dose contains 4.2 g of sodium bicarbonate.

• Dilution - this also requires both a dilution and a volume, e.g. adrenaline 10 ml of 1: 10 000. Where a drug is expressed as a dilution, it means grams in ml of solution. So, for example, adrenaline 1: 10000 contains 1 gram in 10000 ml; that is, 1 mg in 10ml.

All drug administration during cardiac arrest must be fully documented.

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