Normal values of respiratory work

In the clinical setting, respiratory work should be described in terms of both work per minute and work per liter. Work per minute, also called power or work rate ( W), is calculated by multiplying the work of one breath by the corresponding respiratory frequency. Work per liter is calculated by dividing work per minute by minute ventilation. When breathing through the nose, the normal resting work of breathing per minute is approximately 3.9 J/min or 0.47 J/l. Work per liter closely reflects abnormalities in pulmonary mechanics (increased resistance, decreased compliance), whereas work per minute is more dependent on minute ventilation and is less well correlated with abnormalities in lung mechanics.

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