A review of the literature on the accuracy, strengths, and limitations of visual, thoracic impedance, and electrocardiographic methods used to measure respiratory rate in hospitalized patients

Linda K. Bawua, Christine Miaskowski, Xiao Hu, George W. Rodway, Michele M. Pelter

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Respiratory rate (RR) is one of the most important indicators of a patient's health. In critically ill patients, unrecognized changes in RR are associated with poorer outcomes. Visual assessment (VA), impedance pneumography (IP), and electrocardiographic-derived respiration (EDR) are the three most commonly used methods to assess RR. While VA and IP are widely used in hospitals, the EDR method has not been validated for use in hospitalized patients. Additionally, little is known about their accuracy compared with one another. The purpose of this systematic review was to compare the accuracy, strengths, and limitations of VA of RR to two methods that use physiologic data, namely IP and EDR. Methods: A systematic review of the literature was undertaken using prespecified inclusion and exclusion criteria. Each of the studies was evaluated using standardized criteria. Results: Full manuscripts for 23 studies were reviewed, and four studies were included in this review. Three studies compared VA to IP and one study compared VA to EDR. In terms of accuracy, when Bland–Altman analyses were performed, the upper and lower levels of agreement were extremely poor for both the VA and IP and VA and EDR comparisons. Conclusion: Given the paucity of research and the fact that no studies have compared all three methods, no definitive conclusions can be drawn about the accuracy of these three methods. The clinical importance of accurate assessment of RR warrants new research with rigorous designs to determine the accuracy, and clinically meaningful levels of agreement of these methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12885
JournalAnnals of Noninvasive Electrocardiology
Volume26
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • electrocardiography
  • hospitalized patients
  • impedance pneumography
  • respiratory rate
  • sensitivity/specificity
  • visual assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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