UK researchers have developed a new set of evidence-based charts for measuring paediatric vital signs in acute settings.
They reviewed 69 studies, including around 143,000 children, to produce the new reference ranges.
The charts, published online in The Lancet, show a decline in respiratory rate from birth to early adolescence, with the steepest fall in those under two years of age – decreasing from a median of 44 breaths per minute at birth to 26 breaths at two years.
Heart rate shows a small peak at age one month, and median heart rate increases from 127 beats per minute at birth to a maximum of 145 beats at about one month, before decreasing to 113 by age two years.
- Fleming S, et al. Normal ranges of heart rate and respiratory rate in children from birth to 18 years of age: a systematic review of observational studies. The Lancet 2011; Advance online publication.
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