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Slowing of breathing; Slowing of respiration; Respiratory slowing

Definition and Characteristics

The normal respiratory rate depends on several factors including the patient’s age. The term bradypnea is used to describe abnormally slow rates of breathing that are less than 8–10 breaths per minute in adults and below 16 breaths per minute in infants. This slowing of respiration is due to a prolongation of expiratory duration with or without alternation of the tidal volume. The degree and episodicity of the reduction in respiratory rate can vary from mild to severe depending on the etiology of the event and also the presence of concurrent diseases. A severe bradypnea may significantly reduce alveolar ventilation leading to hypoxemia, hypercapnea and respiratory acidosis. Exacerbation of bradypnea may progress to respiratory depression, a term that is preferentially used in the clinical setting [1].


Bradypnea with a central origin is more prevalent than that with a...

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© 2009 Springer-Verlag GmbH Berlin Heidelberg

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Kou, Y.R., Lin, Y.S. (2009). Bradypnea. In: Lang, F. (eds) Encyclopedia of Molecular Mechanisms of Disease. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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