Minute Ventilation Equation Calculator

Determines the total volume of gas in or out of the lung per minute based on tidal volume and respiratory rate.


Minute ventilation is defined as the total volume of gas entering (or leaving) the lung per minute and is calculated as product of tidal volume and respiratory rate.

It is important not to confuse minute ventilation volume with alveolar minute ventilation which is the actual volume of air that participates in the gas exchange, the remainder being the volume of the physiologically dead space that does not participate in gas exchange.


Minute ventilation (VE) in mL/min = Tidal volume (Vt) in mL x Respiratory rate (RR) in resp/min

Normal range for adults:

Variable Lower limit Higher limit
Tidal volume (Vt) 400 mL 600 mL
Respiratory rate (RR) 10 resp/min 16 resp/min
Minute Ventilation (VE) 4000 mL/min 8000 mL/min

Tidal volume (Vt)
Respiratory rate (RR)
  Embed  Print  Share 

Send Us Your Feedback

Steps on how to print your input & results:

1. Fill in the calculator/tool with your values and/or your answer choices and press Calculate.

2. Then you can click on the Print button to open a PDF in a separate window with the inputs and results. You can further save the PDF or print it.

Please note that once you have closed the PDF you need to click on the Calculate button before you try opening it again, otherwise the input and/or results may not appear in the pdf.


 

Determining minute ventilation

Minute ventilation is defined as the total volume of gas entering (or leaving) the lung per minute and is calculated as product of tidal volume and respiratory rate.

At rest, a normal person moves approximately a volume of 450 mL with each breath at a rate of 10 breaths/min so the minute ventilation is approximately 4500 mL/min. Increasing either the tidal volume or respiratory rate will increase the minute ventilation. Minute ventilation can double with light exercise, and it can even exceed 40 L/min with heavy exercise.

The most commonly used minute ventilation equation is:

VE in mL/min = Tidal volume (Vt) in mL x Respiratory rate (RR) in resp/min

Normal range for adults

Variable Lower limit Higher limit
Tidal volume (Vt) 400 mL 600 mL
Respiratory rate (RR) 10 resp/min 16 resp/min
Minute Ventilation (VE) 4000 mL/min 8000 mL/min

But not all the minute ventilation volume participates in gas exchange because of the physiologically dead space. The volume that is used in gas exchange is the difference of the two, the alveolar minute ventilation.

So from the 450 mL that enters the airways, approximately 300 mL reaches the respiratory zone and is actively involved in the alveolar gas exchange and the remainder of 150 mL stays in the dead space.

Tidal volume can also be estimated from height and gender using the following formulas or with the help of this tidal volume calculator.

  • IBW male: 50kg + 2.3 x (height in inches – 60)
  • IBW female: 45.5kg + 2.3 x (height in inches – 60)
  • Tidal Volume: ranges between 6 x IBW mL/kg IBW and 8 x IBW mL/kg
 

References

Blackie SP, Fairbarn MS, McElvaney NG, Wilcox PG, Morrison NJ, Pardy RL. Normal values and ranges for ventilation and breathing pattern at maximal exercise. Chest. 1991; 100(1):136-42.

Carter R, Peavler M, Zinkgraf S, Williams J, Fields S. Predicting maximal exercise ventilation in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Chest. 1987; 92(2):253-9.


Specialty: Pulmonology

System: Respiratory

Article By: Denise Nedea

Published On: May 14, 2020

Last Checked: May 14, 2020

Next Review: May 14, 2025