Daily recording of vital signs is a standard procedure for monitoring hospital patients. Still, recent studies have shown that medical documentation of hospital vital signs is abysmal, especially respiratory rate. However, an abnormal respiratory rate has been indicated to be a significant predictor of severe conditions like cardiac arrest and admission to an intensive care unit.
In 1993, Fieselmann and colleagues found that a respiratory rate higher than 27 breaths per minute was the most important predictor of cardiac arrest in hospital wards. Subbe and colleagues discovered that relative changes in respiratory rate were much greater than changes in heart rate or systolic blood pressure–this indicates that the respiratory rate is a better method of differentiating between stable patients and those with high-risk factors.
This journal detects how respiratory rate being the most important vital sign is the most neglected when it comes to early disease detection.”