Respiratory Rate

Respiratory rate is an excellent marker of physiological compromise that is poorly utilised and often overlooked [19].

Respiratory rate may be increased because of hypoxia (e.g. in pneumonia) but will often remain elevated despite correction of arterial O2 content (CaO2) as worsening perfusion generates a metabolic acidosis requiring respiratory compensation.

Learning bite

Pay attention to the respiratory rate and never ignore tachypnoea.