Respiratory rate 5: using this vital sign to detect deterioration

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This article has been double-blind peer reviewedIn this article…A case study of a patient with community-acquired pneumonia and sepsisHow respiratory assessment helps to detect early signs of patient deteriorationThe importance of monitoring trends in vital signsKey pointsRespiratory rate is a vital sign and should be monitored regularlyIt is uncommon for significant changes to occur in a single physiological parameterIt is important to assess multiple parameters and monitor trendsA respiratory rate of 21-24 breaths per minute is an early clinical sign of deterioration (amber on NEWS2)Those with a respiratory rate of 25 or more are at high risk of deterioration (red on NEWS2)This article is the fifth in a six-part series highlighting the importance of respiratory rate (RR) assessment. It uses a case study to build on the information in the previous parts, demonstrating the links between the anatomy and physiology of respiration and changes in RR, rhythm and chest movement in an acute illness.CitationWheatley I (2018) Respiratory rate 5: using this vital sign to detect deterioration. Nursing Times; 114: 10, 45-46.

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