The respiratory rate is about 14-20 per min in normal adults and up to 44 per min in infants.
Rapid shallow breathing has a number of causes, including restrictive lung disease, pleuritic chest pain, and an elevated diaphragm.
Rapid deep breathing has several causes, including exercise, anxiety, and metabolic acidosis. In the comatose patient, consider infarction, hypoxia, or hypoglycemia affecting the midbrain or pons. Kiissmaul breathing is deep breathing due to metabolic acidosis. It may be fast, normal in rate, or slow.
Slow breathing may be secondary to such causes as diabetic coma, drug-induced respiratory depression, and increased intracranial pressure.
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