Minute Ventilation Volume in Health and Disease

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- Updated on September 1, 2023

Proofread by Samson Hui Proofreader on July **, 2019


Minute Ventilation Volume in Health and Disease 1By Dr. Artour Rakhimov, Alternative Health Educator and Author

- Medically Reviewed by Naziliya Rakhimova, MD

Minute Ventilation Volume in Health and Disease

Respiratory Minute Ventilation in Health and Disease

Minute ventilation (or pulmonary ventilation, or respiratory minute volume, or flow of air) is the volume of air that can be inhaled (inhaled minute volume) or exhaled during one minute.

The calculation of minute ventilation is simple: MV=TV*Rf or minute volume is equal to tidal volume (amount of air for one breath, ml) multiplied by the respiratory frequency (number of breaths per minute).

This table shows normal minute ventilation (liters of air per minute) in healthy subjects at rest (14 studies).

Table. Normal respiratory minute volume (healthy subjects only)

*Each row corresponds to a research paper or medical science article
Condition Minute ventilation N. of subjects References
Normal breathing 6 l/min Medical textbooks
Healthy subjects 7.7 +- 0.3 l/min 19 Douglas et al, 1982
Healthy males 8.4 +- 1.3 l/min 10 Burki, 1984
Healthy males 6.3 l/min 10 Smits et al, 1987
Healthy males 6.1 +-1.4 l/min 6 Fuller et al, 1987
Healthy subjects 6.1 +- 0.9 l/min 9 Tanaka et al, 1988
Healthy students 7.0 +- 1.0 l/min 10 Turley et al, 1993
Healthy subjects 6.6 +- 0.6 l/min 10 Bengtsson et al, 1994
Healthy subjects 7.0 +-1.2 l/min 12 Sherman et al, 1996
Healthy subjects 7.0+-1.2 l/min 10 Bell et al, 1996
Healthy subjects 6 +- 1 l/min 7 Parreira et al, 1997
Healthy subjects 7.0 +- 1.1 l/min 14 Mancini et al, 1999
Healthy subjects 6.6 +- 1.1 l/min 40 Pinna et al, 2006
Healthy subjects 6.7 +- 0.5 l/min 17 Pathak et al, 2006
Healthy subjects 6.7 +- 0.3 l/min 14 Gujic et al, 2007
“Normal” subjects 12 +- 2 l/min >500 Results of 18 studies

You can find references to these studies on healthy subjects here.

These research papers and medical science articles show that healthy subjects have very light and easy breathing. The breathing pattern at rest generally corresponds to about 6-7 liters of air per min for normal minute ventilation values. Modern medical and physiological textbooks provide values for normal pulmonary ventilation, ranging from 6 up to 9 liters of air per minute at rest for a 70-kg man.

However, hyperventilation occurs when the MV is higher than 10 L/min.

Normal ventilation leads to high (or normal) CO2 in the arterial blood and body cells. As a result, oxygen transport is normal and they have normal oxygen values in the brain, heart, and other body organs and cells.

Minute volume in normal subjects

Pulmonary ventilation values for modern “normal subjects” are much higher, averaging at about 12 L/min.

Respiratory minute volume graph: historical changes

Respiratory minute volume in people with chronic conditions

What do we know about minute ventilation rates in people with chronic diseases?

Breathing rates in healthy, normal people vs diseases

Ideal pulmonary minute ventilation

If we imagine different automatic breathing patterns with different respiratory volumes, we can find such a pattern that provides maximum body oxygen levels. We already know that overbreathing reduces body oxygenation due to vasoconstriction, and possibly due to the Bohr effect. However, one can breathe even slower and less than the medical norm for breathing at rest. How much less? You can find out the number X for the respiratory volume that maximizes oxygen levels in the human body. This number X is provided below as your bonus content.

This number is two liters of air per minute at rest.


How to measure minute ventilation DIY

Use plastic bags used for wine storage (up to 10 L and 20 L options can be found on Amazon) or buy Samozdrav breathing device that includes a plastic bag to measure minute ventilation at home.

List of all references: Minute Ventilation (or Pulmonary Ventilation) in Healthy Subjects

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