Saturday, October 22, 2005

Normal Respiratory Rates in Children vs. Tachypnea

This came up on the asthma-parents list. #2 son was going haywire yesterday, coughing until he gagged. (He's going to the pulmonologist for the first time Monday.) More on that later...

Anyway, I was completely freaking out, so I checked his resp rate about a dozen times overnight. But I don't know what the normal resp rate is for an 18-month-old. (Obviously, if he was at 50-60 breaths per minute, I would have rushed him to the ER.) So I sent an email to the other asthma moms....and they didn't exactly know either.

So, in typical "Angry Asthma Mama" fashion, I hit the search engines. Here's what I found, per my email to the moms:

"Tachypnea was defined as a respiratory rate >60 breaths/minute in children 2 >50 breaths/minute in children 2 to 12 months of age, and >40 breaths/minute in children =" border=0>1 year of age."

According to this article, presence of fever raised the rate by 10 breaths per minute. The article's actually pretty interesting if anyone wants to read the whole thing -- it's about using resp. rate to diagnose pneumonia. Here's a link: Tachypnea is a useful predictor of pneumonia in children with acute respiratory infection.

That article led me to this one, which has a fuller age range:

"The World Health Organization's age-specific criteria for tachypnea are the most widely used: a respiratory rate of more than 50 breaths per minute in infants two to 12 months of age; more than 40 breaths per minute in children one to five years of age; and more than 30 breaths per minute in children older than five years. (14)"

And yes, the context was diagnosing pneumonia.

Hope someone else finds this useful!

14 comments:

Aimee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TruthSeeking Mom said...

I thought it was great info and saved me from my own web search on this very topic, so THANKS! And don't let the turkeys get you down!

Aimee said...

Truthseeking Mom -- I'm so glad to have helped.

...and, hey, I'm a veg. The turkeys *NEVER* get me down!

Eric said...

Yes, I found this very helpful. As a life long asthmatic and father to an asthmatic child I still didn't know the rates. 5 years ago, our infant son was sent home by the doctor with a respiration rate of well over 80 per minute w/ the diagnosis of RSV. We were told that prednisone was the only thing that was going to bring relief (albuterol treatments sure didn't help much) while he waited out the RSV. We had to give him tiny doses at at time to keep him from throwing up. Had we known just how far out of the acceptable range his breathing was we would have gone straight to the hospital. As it was, we trusted our doctor and our infant son did not survive the RSV. He died the next morning. Turns out he should have been hospitalized immediately but she wasn't convinced he was going to be an asthmatic child so she didn't think he was in such danger. Yeah, we do our own research a lot now.

sophstar's mama said...

Thanks for the info - my almost-three-year-old has an ear infection and when I went in to check on her last night, her heart rate was 180-190 and her respiratory rate was about 65-70. Thank goodness they came down with ibuprofen, but I was about ready to take her to the ER!

Aimee said...

So glad I could help!

Anonymous said...

Eric....im sorry about your lost...just recently my daughter who is now 9 months was hospitalized for a month with rsv. When she was about 2months she started off with alot of wheezing and congestion and she was a full term baby. She had to take multiple treatements daily since she was 2 months and it never went away. One day she was breathing very heavy and i rushed her to a childrens hospital and she had rsv. She looked like she was getting better until the fourth day her body couldnt fight it anymore and took a turn for the worse. She ended up on a ventilater and was put to sleep for about 2 weeks and is much better now. But it was a very rough time for the both of us. Im glad she is still here. your doctor shouldve known better for being a doctor! That is a shame! But i am sorry to hear that!

Anonymous said...

I have a two year old son who has been hospitalized twice now for rsv. the first time he was life flighted from the emergency room to a children's hospital and the second time was taken by ambulance both times he had been to the doctors office and been sent home. He has been diagnosed with Asthma. I feel like the doctors are not proactive in treating him and I don't want to make another emergency trip and I don't think the albuterol helps him very much every time he gets any type of cold his breathing is very labored and he throws up constantly. Does anyone have any advice?

shaz said...

Thanks for the article info, very helpful as I am worried my son has contracted RSV again. He was in hospital for a week, he didn't get to the ventilator stage, but he needed to be on oxygen straight away, and on the 4th day, he could no longer feed normally, and needed to have naso gastric feeds. He was exhausted, if we hadn't taken him to hospital and waited at home, I do believe he would not have survived. I am horrified that there are Doctors out there that do not understand the need for oxygen and sustenance. RSV is a very scary illness, and not to be taken lightly. We are off to our GP in the morning.

Anonymous said...

My 5.5 yo son has recently been diagnosed with acute respiratory illness asthma. I've talked to many parents about it -- parents who, as it "coincidentally" turns out, happen to either have children with asthma or know multiple parents who have children with asthma -- and we all see that more kids have asthma nowadays than when we were kids. It's so f*cked and, as someone who's always been an activist & freethinker, a definite (yet personal and unwelcome) challenge to find "alternative" treatments. So far, I'm giving him albuterol, blech. I'm vegan, and he's vegetarian, and I try to limit his intake of dairy, but otherwise, I don't know what to do. It sucks. But I'm going to keep on researching and talking to people. And you keep doing the awesome work you're doing!

Aimee said...

Thanks for the comment, Mama! I will try to keep it up. We just managed to beat a nasty flare with Ozzy (thank you, DuoNeb!), so believe me: I feel your pain!

Anonymous said...

Doctoryourself.com run by dr andrew saul is a great website with lots of info. He doesn't sell anything and it is worth the read...specific topics down the left side of the page and a search box on the right top.

Anonymous said...

My son has struggled since birth with breathing difficulties. We have been in and out of hospital's since he was first born. The doctors first thought he had RSV then asthma. After a year of going to the ER every other week he was finally tested for allergies. He has severe food allergies but since the doctors didn't catch it in time it has fully atacked his lungs which are so badly damaged. He has been on steroids, inhalers, and nasle sprays for four years now. Every time we think he is doing better he goes into the hospital. I hate having him on constant steroids as a fear of it doing more damage than good. He is already way behind on his growth, has anger issues and nervous tics. I am praying he will out grow the allergies. Hopefully this will help another child who is having these symptoms. If the doctors would have caught his allergies sooner his lungs could have developed normally. Now I have already been told he will have to be on asthma treatments for the rest of his life.

sammy said...

My daughter is really poorly at min breathing heavily n fast what do use advise me to do had her to doctors n said her chest n airwase fine can someone please help me x