Tachypnoea Symptoms And Treatment

The literal meaning of tachypnoea is rapid breathing.  The deviation from normal rate of breathing is the characteristic of it. The normal rate of breathing is 12-20. In this condition, it is greater than 20 breaths per minute.

It is listed as a type of respiratory conditions. It is known by many other names. Different sources produce different classification for its terms. Hyperventilation is described as the increased ventilation of the alveoli which is caused by increase in rate of breathing or increase in depth of breathing. Along with increase in rate of respiration, there is increase in metabolic carbon dioxide due to increase in ventilation.  There is difference between tachypnoea and hyperpnoea. Hyperpnea means breathing more rapid and deeper than the breathing at rest. Sometimes it’s classified as any rapid breathing, hyperventilation as rapid breathing at rest and hyperpnea as increase in breathing along with increase in metabolic rate. It is also known as rapid respiration but many deny because respiration and breathing are two different terms. Hyperventilation is increased level and depth of respiration that it cause decrease in level of carbon dioxide in blood and hyperpnoea is any increase in rate and depth of respiration or breathing that is normal.


Causes of tachypnoea are many ranging from pathological to physiological causes. They include large list of causes. Physiological causes are exercise and during labor while in pregnancy. Pathological causes include carbon monoxide poisoning in which oxygen delivery to the tissues and the organs is blocked which causes decrease in perfusion of oxygen to the tissues and the organs. This causes hypoxia. Due to prolonged hypoxia there is increase in cellular injury. The other causes of tachypnoea are:

  • Lung diseases
  • Heart disease
  • Anemia
  • Anxiety can cause it
  • Decrease in volume of water due to depletion
  • Pheochromocytoma due to neurofibromatosis
  • Peritonitis
  • Asthma which is non allergic
  • Infection caused by meningococci
  • Intrinsic asthma
  • Poisoning cause by eucalyptus oil
  • Defibrination syndrome
  • Chemical poisoning caused by profenofos, petroleum distillates, melathion, Jet fuel-4, methane, lewisite, fenthion, dioxathion, dinitrocresol, diethylene glycol, carbaryl, amitraz.
  • It is also seen in pulmonary edema. There is increase in rapid respiration.
  • Adult respiratory distress syndrome.
  • Acute pneumonias
  • Rapid breathing is also seen in asthma.
  • Also seen in panic attack
  • Bacterial meningitis
  • Acute silicosis
  • Hemorrhage

These are some causes of the rapid rate of breathing.


The symptoms include excessively rapid breathing, rapid breathing at rest, and also shallow breathing


To differentiate it from the rest of the condition and to detect it there are certain criteria. We have to explore his history and rule out any respiratory condition such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. We have to ask about any cardiac disorder such as heart failure, any lung diseases or lupus erythematosus. Perform a detailed chest examination, noting any abnormal respiratory rate, pattern or depth. We have to assess the turgor, pressure, color, temperature of patient’s skin and have to check for clubbing.

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