Background: Measurements in absolute terms of the whole respiratory movement pattern (range, type, symmetry, rhythm and frequency of breathing movements) of healthy individuals are valuable for reference, when assessing patients with conditions affecting respiration.
Objective: To establish reference data for breathing movements and patterns for healthy men and women.
Methods: Fifty men (mean age 47.8 years) and 50 women (mean age 43.4 years) aged between 20 and 69 years participated in the study. Anterior-posterior breathing movements of the upper and lower thorax and abdomen were measured bilaterally during quiet breathing and deep breathing using the respiratory movement measuring instrument. Descriptive statistics, paired-sample statistics and Kendall's correlation test were used for analysis.
Results: Breathing movements were symmetrical and did not change significantly with increasing age. The average breathing type for men and women was abdominal during quiet breathing. During deep breathing the abdominal movements were significantly less amongst the women than the men (p < 0.05). The average respiratory rate was 14 during quiet and 7.4 during deep breathing for both sexes. The rhythm (inspiration/expiration ratio) was 1:1.21 for men and 1:1.14 for women during quiet breathing and 1:1.23 for men and 1:1.40 for women during deep breathing.
Conclusions: As men and women have similar breathing movements during quiet breathing their reference values can be combined. On the other hand, separate reference values are needed for men and women for deep breathing.
Copyright 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel.