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Measuring Respiratory Rate
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Measuring respirations
The respiratory rate is the number of breaths that a patient takes each minute. The rate should be taken when the patient is at rest, and it is assessed by counting the number of times the chest rises in one minute. Common factors that influence respiration rate are as follows:
  • Age
  • Emotional status
  • Air quality and altitude
  • Exercise
  • Internal temperature
  • Disease (i.e., cardiopulmonary)
  • O2 and CO2 level (i.e., pulmonary status)
  • Effectiveness of breathing pattern

Common respiratory values are listed below.

Age Breaths per minute
Infant 30 or more
Child 22-28
Adolescent 16 -20
Adult - normal 14-18*
Adult - abnormal <10 and >20

*It has been shown that women typically have higher respiratory rates than men.
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Section: Measuring Respiratory Rate
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