Respiratory Rate | Vital Signs - MedSchool
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 The respiratory rate is an important vital sign that is an early marker of deterioration. The diaphragm has both somatic and autonomic innervation, and thus the respiratory rate can be altered both voluntarily and and involuntarily in response to physiologic or pathologic stimuli.
 

Respiratory Rate

 
 
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Overview


    • The respiratory rate is an important vital sign that is an early marker of deterioration.
  • The diaphragm has both somatic and autonomic innervation, and thus the respiratory rate can be altered both voluntarily and and involuntarily in response to physiologic or pathologic stimuli.
      • Normal Range

      • 12 - 20 breaths per minute
    • How to Measure

    • Count the patient's breaths over 30 seconds to one minute while ostensibly measuring the pulse.

Tachypnoea

  • Respiratory rate greater then 20 breathes per minute.
    • Causes of Tachypnoea

    • Physiologic - during exercise or at high altitude
    • Anxiety
    • Metabolic acidosis - abdominal pathology, sepsis
    • Pulmonary embolism
    • Pneumonia
    • Asthma
    • Respiratory failure

Bradypnoea

  • Respiratory rate less than 12 breaths per minute.
    • Causes of Bradypnoea

    • Respiratory suppression
    • Drugs - opioids
    • Respiratory failure
    • Hypothyroidism
    • Raised intracranial pressure
Last updated on April 15th, 2020
 
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