science technology

Important Instruments Used to Measure Breathing Rate


Instrument Used to Measure Breathing Rate

Measuring the rate of your respiration is an important process as any deviation in the normality of your breathing indicates that you may be suffering from a respiratory disease. Early diagnosis usually leads to an early cure. Late diagnosis may lead to complications and a poor treatment result. The following devices are used to measure the rate of breathing.

Standard Pulse Oximeter

This device measures the changes in the rate of respiration when there is a change in the level of oxygenated blood in blood. The mechanism that is used by this device is that it measures the amount of light that is absorbed in the body. The amount of absorbed light is based on the amount of oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin. The advantage is that this method offers continuous monitoring of both the rate of breathing and the rate of the heart. This device is useful in emergency departments and intensive care units to monitor patients who are at risk of hypoxia. The oximeter can only be used in clinical setups since it requires experienced healthcare workers to interpret the appearance of the waveform given by the device. This waveform is important as they tell the healthcare workers if the device is working properly. The wavelet signal is used to determine the rate of breathing.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

There are techniques are different techniques used to measure the respiration signal from an electrocardiogram. The most common one involves measuring the movement of a chest using the ECG electrodes. It is the electrode that is used to determine the rate of breathing and not the electrode signals themselves. There is usually special hardware used along with the cardiogram to determine the respiratory rate. It is through this method we can be able to obtain a continuous respiratory waveform.

Another method is through observation of the chest movement variation in RR intervals which are due to the thoracic rhythm of an individual. This method is suitable for measuring the rate of breathing in children.

The other method that is ECG-derived test is the use of ECG electrodes, in this method the change of positions of electrodes relative to chest movement as the lungs fill and empty is determined and can show the rate of breathing through ECG signal. The advantage of this method is that a single electrode can be used in case of the absence of other electrodes. But the results are usually more accurate if there are more than two ECG signals.


This device measures the amount of air inhaled and exhaled from the lungs. This device is important in the clinical setup as it measures the rate of breathing and the strength of muscles involved in breathing. It is an important device in the diagnosis of lung disorders.

In this method, a patient is asked to breathe through a small tube connected to the spirometer. This device records the amount of air inhaled and exhaled and also the speed or the time you take to inhale and exhale. This test is important in the detection of chronic lung diseases such as asthma, pulmonary fibrosis among other diseases affecting the lungs.