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Measuring Respiratory Rate
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Tests to be performed - Respiratory rate measurements

Equipment - Appropriate analog or digital clock positioned in clear view

Expected findings - Normal respiratory rate for age and fitness level

Testing procedures
  1. Position the patient in a comfortable position.
  2. After taking the patient's radial pulse, continue to hold the extremity as a distraction for the patient and count the respirations for one minute, or subtly listen with the stethoscope over the patient’s chest and count the respirations for one minute.
  3. Document your findings.
Clinical notes
  • When counting breaths, it is best to be as unobtrusive as possible because many patients tend to breathe faster when they know that attention is being directed to their breathing.
Special instructions
  • Respiratory rates above 25 breaths per minute (i.e., tachypnea) or under 12 breaths per minute (i.e., bradypnea) when at rest may be abnormal.
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Section: Measuring Respiratory Rate
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