Respiration Monitoring

from treatment to proactive monitoring

Why respiration monitoring?

Respiratory Rate Is A Vital Sign

The respiratory rate is a critical observation but is often not recorded and or neglected. Respiratory rate is a vital sign and essential observation to a patients health. Any slight changes in RR is often an indication of deterioration as the body tries to sustain oxygen delivery to the tissues.

Early detection and documentation of changes in vital signs, especially RR, could help predict and detect respiratory failure, which is a primary cause of admission to intensive care.

For example, an increased RR can be utilized to predict and treat patients at risk of cardiac arrest. A study showed that a RR of >27 breaths/min is a better predictor of a cardiac arrest within 72 hours than heart rate or blood pressure (Fieselmann et al, 1993).

Failure to recognize the early signs of deterioration can hurt patients and drive up costs for more intensive treatment.The monitoring and recording of RR is a critical piece of a full patient assessment. It should be used in the context of other presenting clinical data, along with the other aspects of respiration: the depth(chest displacement), pattern and breathing effort.


Fieselmann JF et al (1993) Respiratory rate predicts cardiopulmonary arrest for internal medicine inpatients. Journal of General Internal Medicine; 993; 8: 7, 354-360.

What is respiration monitoring?

Respiration rate is the number of breaths a person takes per minute, and is best measured when a person is at rest. The rate may however increase with fever, illness, and with other medical conditions. The most common method for respiration rate measurement is by physical assessment, observing a person’s chest and counting the number of breaths for one minute.

While measuring respiration rate alone provides only limited information, it is actual respiration patterns that reveal valuable data such as rate, amplitude, and other characteristics.

How do we do respiration monitoring?

TransRobotics respiration monitoring relies on observing the periodic movements of the body when a person is at rest and breathing. This periodic motion is observed from a distance in sliding time windows by using the Pulse Doppler principle - the backbone of TransRobotics respiration monitoring. A frequency spectrum is calculated at every range bin, producing what is called a Pulse Doppler matrix. In this matrix, static objects like walls or furniture can be removed, while the small body movements from a breathing person can be measured. This allows the TransRobotics sensor to accurately find the number of respirations per minute (RPM) of a breathing person.

In addition to the respiration rate, the actual mechanical movement of the chest wall can be seen by evaluating the time-variation of the received signal phase. This allows the breathing pattern to be outputted from the TransRobotics sensor in real time.