Minute ventilation refers to the amount of air, in liters, that a person breathes per minute. It is found by multiplying respiratory rate and tidal volume. This is an important factor anesthesiologists consider when a patient is having surgery.
A person's minute ventilation can increase or decrease based on whether or not he is stressed, exercising or participating in other strenuous activities. An increase in ventilation is the result of an increase in a demand for oxygen combined with an increase in the production of carbon dioxide. A decrease is the result of a decrease in oxygen demand and carbon dioxide production.