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Anglais médical

English for Nurses: The Respiratory Rate

Publié le 15/06/2023

Cycle respiratoire, inspiration et expiration, eupnée et apnée : découvrez ou révisez tout le vocabulaire anglais utile autour de la respiration. N'hésitez pas pour bien faire à vous servir du dictionnaire en ligne Wordreference. Les corrigés des exercices sont à retrouver au format PDF, téléchargeables, à la fin de l'article.

Anglais médical : respiratory rate

Part 1: Vocabulary

  • apnoea (US : apnea)
  • bradypnoea (US bradypnea)
  • deflation
  • eupnoea (US eupnea)
  • expansion
  • inspiration
  • sleep apnoea (US apnea)
  • tachypnoea (US tachypnea)

Match the prefixes with their correct meanings

1. a- A. fast
2. brady- B. good, well
3. de- C. out, out of
4. eu- D. without, absent
5. ex- E. slow
6. tachy- F. do the opposite


Part 2: Match the terms from the vocabulary list with their correct meanings

  1. ___________ : increasing in size, e.g. the area within the lungs
  2. ___________ : cessation of breathing (from the Greek work meaning absence of something)
  3. ___________ : normal breathing (from the Greek word meaning breathing freely)
  4. ___________ : making something smaller by removing air
  5. ___________ : abnormally slow breathing (from the Greek meaning slow)
  6. ___________ : medical condition in which a person stops breathing for a short time when sleeping
  7. ___________ : breathing in
  8. ___________ : abnormally fast breathing (from the Greek prefix meaning fast)


Part 3: Reading

Read the text and answer the questions

Respiration supplies the body with oxygen and removes carbon dioxide as a waste product. External respiration is the exchange of gases in the alveolae and capillaries of the lungs. Internal respiration is the metabolism of gases within the cells, creating energy and producing carbon dioxide as a waste product.

Normal breathing is regular with even chest expansion and deflation. This is an unconscious process, controlled by the autonomic or involuntary nervous system. 
Changes in the normal breathing pattern can have profound effects on the body. An example of this is what happens when people who are stressed hold their breath and  cause carbon dioxide levels in the blood to rise. This stimulates a part of the brain called the locus coeruleus to produce increasing amounts of noradrenaline (the ‘stress hormone’). As noradrenaline levels rise, it becomes difficult to concentrate leading to distracted thinking. 

Deep breathing techniques can alter breathing patterns leading to physical and psychological improvements. The techniques form the basis of most relaxation and meditation practices. By taking a deep breath in for the count of 4 and breathing out for the count of 6, it is possible to ‘reset’ the locus coeruleus and bring down levels of noradrenaline.  For people who experience panic attacks, deep breathing can provide a sense of control over an otherwise frightening situation. The ability to think clearly has an important effect on a person’s decision-making and memory. Finally, because chronic pain and stress are inevitably linked, the focus on breathing to lower stress levels can reduce the experience of pain signals.


  1. The process of breathing results in the elimination of waste gases from the body
    True /False
  2. Normal respiration does not require deliberate attempts to slow or speed up the breathing rate
    True /False
  3. The breathing in of oxygen is necessary for the production of stress hormones
    True / False
  4. A person can become more relaxed by slowing the breath
    True /False
  5. Deep breathing is a non-pharmacological method of pain relief
    True /False


Part 4: Listening

Watch the video below and complete the sentences from the monologue

  1. The Respiratory Rate is measured to determine the number of times per minute a person  ___________.
  2. That is, the quality of their breaths or whether breaths are ___________ or shallow.
  3. Nurses often check patients’ respiratory rate while they are doing other ___________, such as taking the pulse rate.
  4. This ensures that oxygen and carbon dioxide levels are in ___________ in the body
  5. Their breathing rate gradually ___________ until adolescence when it is between 12 and 16 breaths per minute.
  6. After exercise, it is normal to breathe faster. Patients also breathe faster, if they are in pain, if they have a fever or if they are ___________.
  7. Patients breathe slower when they are asleep and when they are calm and ___________.
  8. Abnormally slow breathing can be a sign of ___________.
  9. If the muscles of the throat relax too much, the airway can become completely ___________ and air is unable to enter the lungs.and air is unable to enter the lungs.


Télécharger les corrections au format PDF



Virginia Allum, auteur et consultante EMP (English for Medical Purposes).

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