Clinical Practice Guidelines

Normal Ranges for Physiological Variables

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    Normal Ranges table


    • These are acceptable ranges for unwell children.
    • They are not what would be expected normal ranges for healthy children.

    • There are many publications giving normal or acceptable ranges for physiological variables in children. Published values are quite disparate and probably reflect differing populations and assessment methods.

    • The values shown here match those currently being used on RCH observation charts as thresholds for patients needing review. These charts are being considered for use in all Victorian hospitals that care for children.
    • The heart rate and respiratory rate values are drawn from the 5th & 95th centiles (bracketed for age and rounded to workable values) from

        Bonafide CP, Brady PW, Keren R, Conway PH, Marsolo K, Daymont C. (2013).
        Development of heart and respiratory rate percentile curves for hospitalized children.
         Pediatrics,131 (4), e1150-e1157).

        • They have been chosen as they are more representative of unwell children.
        • Patterns of change in these variables are as important as the thresholds shown here. For example a heart rate that is steadily rising through the acceptable range should trigger attention before it crosses the 95th centile.