Definition of Tachypnea

Tachypnea is an abnormally rapid respiration rateBreathing is also usually shallow. The normal respiration rate for healthy adults is 15 to 20 respiratory cycles per minute.

In tachypnea the respiration rate can be two to four times normal. Breathing may appear labored, and when the body is not able to meet its needs the person may look cyanotic (pale or bluish) if the tissues are receiving inadequate oxygen.

It is a symptom of numerous health conditions ranging from fever to serious infection such as pneumonia. In transient tachypnea of the newborn, an infant develops a pattern of tachypneic breathing that lasts 24 to 72 hours after birth.

Doctors believe this form of tachypnea, which resolves without treatment or complications, occurs as a mechanism for the infant to clear residual amniotic fluid from the lungs.

See also CYANOSISDYSPNEAHYPERVENTILATION.

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