Respiratory rate

The respiratory rate is the rate at which breathing occurs. This is usually measured in breaths per minute and is set and controlled by the respiratory centre.

Breathing frequency; rate at which breathing occurs, usually measured in breaths per minute
This article is about the measurement of breathing. For the parameter used in ecological and agronomical modeling, see respiration rate.

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Further information: Mechanical ventilation and Respirometer

The respiratory rate in humans is measured by counting the number of breaths for one minute through counting how many times the chest rises. A fibre-optic breath rate sensor can be used for monitoring patients during a magnetic resonance imaging scan.[1] Respiration rates may increase with fever, illness, or other medical conditions.[2]

Inaccuracies in respiratory measurement have been reported in the literature.[3] One study compared respiratory rate counted using a 90-second count period, to a full minute, and found significant differences in the rates.[citation needed]. Another study found that rapid respiratory rates in babies, counted using a stethoscope, were 60–80% higher than those counted from beside the cot without the aid of the stethoscope.[citation needed] Similar results are seen with animals when they are being handled and not being handled—the invasiveness of touch apparently is enough to make significant changes in breathing.

Various other methods to measure respiratory rate are commonly used, including impedance pneumography,[4] and capnography which are commonly implemented in patient monitoring. In addition, novel techniques for automatically monitoring respiratory rate using wearable sensors are in development, such as estimation of respiratory rate from the electrocardiogram, photoplethysmogram, or accelerometry signals.[5][6][7][8]

There are also modern applications that allow accurate respiratory rate measurement.[9]

For humans, the typical respiratory rate for a healthy adult at rest is 12–16 breaths per minute.[10] The respiratory center sets the quiet respiratory rhythm at around two seconds for an inhalation and three seconds exhalation. This gives the lower of the average rate at 12 breaths per minute.

Average resting respiratory rates by age are:[11][12]

  • birth to 6 weeks: 30–40 breaths per minute
  • 6 months: 25–40 breaths per minute
  • 3 years: 20–30 breaths per minute
  • 6 years: 18–25 breaths per minute
  • 10 years: 17–23 breaths per minute
  • Adults: 15–18 breaths per minute[10]
  • Elderly ≥ 65 years old: 12–28 breaths per minute.[13]
  • Elderly ≥ 80 years old: 10-30 breaths per minute.[13]

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. . . Respiratory rate . . .

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