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Bradypnea is abnormally slow breathing. The respiratory rate at which bradypnea is diagnosed depends on the age of the person, with the limit higher during childhood.

Age ranges[edit]

  • Age 0–1 year < 30 breaths per minute
  • Age 1–3 years < 25 breaths per minute
  • Age 3–12 years < 20 breaths per minute
  • Age 12–50 years < 12 breaths per minute
  • Age 50 and up <13 breaths per minute

Signs and symptoms[edit]

  • Dizziness
  • Near-fainting (drowsiness) or fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Chest pains
  • Shortness of breath
  • Memory impairment or confusion
  • Tiring easily during any physical activity


  • Degeneration of heart tissue because of aging
  • Damage to tissues in the heart from heart attack, heart disease or injury
  • High blood pressure or hypertension
  • Congenital heart defect which is a permanent disorder present at birth
  • Heart tissue infection also known as myocarditis -Complication of heart surgery
  • Hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid gland[1]
  • Imbalance of electrolytes which are mineral related substances needed for conducting electrical impulses
  • Obstructive sleep apnea which is the repeated disruption of breathing during sleep due to obstruction to the airway
  • Inflammatory disease, such as lupus or rheumatic fever
  • Buildup of iron in the organs known as hemochromatosis
  • Medications, such as drugs for other heart rhythm disorders as well as high blood pressure and narcotic pain medications may also decrease respiratory rate
  • Dysautonomia (dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system)


If urgent treatment is needed, supplemental oxygen is given to the individual. Treatments can range from surgery to correct dangerous intracranial pressure, to stays in rehabilitation facilities for bradypnea caused by addiction problems.

Etymology and pronunciation[edit]

The word bradypnea uses combining forms of brady- + -pnea, from (Greek from bradys, slow + pnoia, breath. See pronunciation information at dyspnea.

See also[edit]


  • Stegman, Julie K. (2006). Stedman, Thomas Lathrop (ed.). Stedman's Medical Dictionary (28th ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 250. ISBN 0781733901.
  1. ^ Williams, Mark. "The Basic Geriatric Respiratory Examination." Medscape. 25 Nov 2009.

External links[edit]