Medical Definition of Respiratory rate

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Respiratory rate: The number of breaths per minute or, more formally, the number of movements indicative of inspiration and expiration per unit time. In practice, the respiratory rate is usually determined by counting the number of times the chest rises or falls per minute. The aim of measuring respiratory rate is to determine whether the respirations are
normal, abnormally fast (tachypnea), abnormally slow (bradypnea), or nonexistent (apnea).

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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