B is for Bronchoscopy and Breath Rate
A bronchoscopy (bron-KOS-ko-pee) is a procedure used to look inside the lungs' airways. The airways carry air from the trachea, or windpipe, to the lungs. During the procedure, the doctor passes a thin, flexible tube called a bronchoscope through the person's nose (or sometimes their mouth), down their throat, and into their airways. The bronchoscope has a light and small camera that allow the doctor to see the windpipe and airways and take pictures. Abby had a bronchoscopy done when he had her trach placed, and will be having another one while under anesthesia for her cleft palate surgery so that our ENT can see how her airway is growing. Bronchoscopies are pretty typical for trach kids.
The breath rate refers to the number of breaths a person takes in a minute. Below is a list of the average breath rates for different age groups.
Average Respiratory Rates By Age:
Newborns: 30-40 breaths per minute
Less Than 1 Year: 30-40 breaths per minute
1-3 Years: 23-35 breaths per minute
3-6 Years: 20-30 breaths per minute
6-12 Years: 18-26 breaths per minute
12-17 Years: 12-20 breaths per minute
Adults Over 18: 12–20 breaths per minute
Abby's breath rate has always been very high. There was a time when breathing 80-90 breaths per minute was her baseline! We've been really pleased to see how her breath rate has decreased in the last few months. Since we've begun weaning her off of the vent in June, she has gone from an average breath rate of 70 to an average in the 50s! This is still higher than the number of breaths a child her age should be taking in a minute, but we are making progress.