Respiratory rate

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The respiratory rate indicates the number of breaths within a certain period of time, usually one minute.


The breathing rate describes the breaths per unit of time.

The respiratory rate is one of several vital parameters that are of crucial importance when recording and monitoring patients in hospitals , especially in intensive care medicine . In English, the breathing rate is also known as the respiratory rate .

A respiratory rate that is too fast is called tachypnea , while a rate that is too slow is called bradypnea .

Breathing rate as a setting parameter in ventilation technology

The breathing rate is one of the most important parameters to be set in ventilation technology . In neonates very high respiratory rates need to be generated in adult patients less high. As a rule, the following settings apply in human medicine:

Age Breaths per minute
Adults 12-18
child 16-25
small child 20-30
infant 30-40
Newborn 40-45
Premature babies 50-70

For comparison: respiratory rate in animals (at rest)

  • Dog : 10 to 40 breaths per minute
  • Horse : 6 to 16 breaths per minute

Deviations from normal breathing rate

Too high or too low a breathing rate can lead to critical situations. With a high frequency and at the same time deeper breathing, the carbon dioxide concentration in the blood drops (see hyperventilation ). At high respiratory frequencies, combined with "shallow" breathing, the dead space in the respiratory system can be primarily ventilated (hypoventilation). Since these areas are not involved in gas exchange with the blood , the oxygen concentration in the body drops and the concentration of carbon dioxide increases. Permanent hypoxia (decrease in oxygen saturation ) or an increased blood CO 2 concentration can lead to considerable tissue damage. As a result, there is already an indication for artificial ventilation for adults at resting breathing rates of over 40 per minute. Too low a breathing rate leads to similar phenomena ; the blood cannot be sufficiently enriched with oxygen and the exhalation of CO 2 is no longer sufficiently guaranteed. There is a Kohlenstoffdioxidnarkose ( CO 2 - anesthesia ).

Therefore, continuous monitoring of the oxygen saturation and regular control of the CO 2 content (see blood gas analysis ) of the blood during ventilation is necessary.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: breathing rate  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Thomas Pasch, S. Krayer, HR Brunner: Definition and parameters of acute respiratory insufficiency: ventilation, gas exchange, respiratory mechanics. In: J. Kilian, H. Benzer, FW Ahnefeld (ed.): Basic principles of ventilation. Springer, Berlin a. a. 1991, ISBN 3-540-53078-9 , 2nd, unchanged edition, ibid 1994, ISBN 3-540-57904-4 , pp. 93-108; here: p. 95 f.