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Prognosis of pneumonia: value of respiratory rate often overlooked

Date:
August 12, 2014
Source:
Deutsches Aerzteblatt International
Summary:
Pneumonia – a severe lung infection – is the most common disease calling for hospital admission. More than one out of ten pneumonia patients die of the disease. Thus it is vital to accurately predict and closely monitor the clinical course. Here, measuring the respiratory rate – the number of breaths a person takes in a minute – provides valuable information. However, far too little use is still being made of this vital sign in clinical practice, researchers conclude.

Pneumonia -- a severe lung infection -- is the most common disease calling for hospital admission. More than one out of ten pneumonia patients die of the disease. Thus it is vital to accurately predict and closely monitor the clinical course. Here, measuring the respiratory rate -- the number of breaths a person takes in a minute -- provides valuable information. However, far too little use is still being made of this vital sign in clinical practice, as Richard Strauß and co-authors conclude in their recent study in Deutsches Ärzteblatt.

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The respiratory rate has long been established as an important prognostic factor and aid to risk evaluation. For example, it was already known in the 1980ies that pneumonia patients with increased respiratory rates were more likely to die than their counterparts with normal breathing. Despite recommendations to measure the respiratory rate in several diseases, it is still underutilized in hospitals, the study reveals. Although the respiratory rate is usually determined when pneumonia treatment is started, regular measurements and consistent documentation are rare. But counting the breaths in pneumonia patients should, as the authors point out, be as much of a routine as taking the pulse and measuring the blood pressure is today.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Deutsches Aerzteblatt International. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Strauss R, Ewig S, Richter K, König T, Heller G, Bauer TT. The prognostic significance of respiratory rate in patients with pneumonia—a retrospective analysis of data from 705 928 hospitalized patients in Germany from 2010–2012. Dtsch Arztebl Int, 2014; 111: 503%u20138 DOI: 10.3238/arztebl.2014.0503

Cite This Page:

Deutsches Aerzteblatt International. "Prognosis of pneumonia: value of respiratory rate often overlooked." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140812121845.htm>.
Deutsches Aerzteblatt International. (2014, August 12). Prognosis of pneumonia: value of respiratory rate often overlooked. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140812121845.htm
Deutsches Aerzteblatt International. "Prognosis of pneumonia: value of respiratory rate often overlooked." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140812121845.htm (accessed February 1, 2015).

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