Vital signs are important indicators of health states of the body. Vital signs are defined as various determinations tat provide inforamtion about the basic body conditions of the patient.

The four main vitals signs are temperature, pulse, respirations, and blood pressure.

Assessing Temperature
Assessing Pulse
Assessing Respirations
Pain Assessment
Palpated Blood Pressure Assessment
Auscultated Blood Pressure

Auscultated Blood Pressure Assessment
Taking an Auscultated Blood Pressure

Vital Signs Medical Terminology:
  1. Apical - Pertaining to the apex or pointed end of the heart
  2. Apical Pulse - Pulse taken with a stethoscope and near the apex of the heart
  3. Apnea - Absence of respirations; temporary cessation of respirations
  4. Arrhythmia -Irregular or abnormal rhythm, usually referring to the heart rhythm
  5. Axilla - Armpit, the area of the body under the arm
  6. Auscultation - The act of listening for sounds within the body
  7. Blood Pressure -Pressure of circulating blood against the walls of the arteries
  8. Bradycardia - Slow heart rate, usually below 60 beats a minute
  9. Bradypnea - Slow respiratory rate, usually below 10 respirations a minute
  10. Capillary Refill - is the rate at which blood refills empty capillaries. It can be measured by holding a hand higher than heart-level (prevents venous reflux), pressing a fingernail until it turns white, and taking note of the time needed for color to return once the nail is released
  11. Cardiac Arrest - Sudden stopping of heart action
  12. Carotid Pulse - felt along the long carotid artery on either side of the neck
  13. Clinical Thermometers - may be used to record temperatures
  14. Constrict - To get smaller
  15. Cyanosis - A dusky, bluish discoloration of the skin, lips, and/or nail beds as a result of decreased oxygen and increased carbon dioxide in the bloodstream.
  16. Diastolic Blood Pressure - The pressure remaining in the arteries during ventricular relaxation
  17. Dilate - To get larger
  18. Dyspnea - Difficult or labored breathing
  19. Electronic Thermometers - This type of thermometer registers the temperature on a viewer in a few seconds.
  20. Fever - Elevated body temperature, usually above 101 degrees F, rectally
  21. Height - Is the measurement of the length of the human body, from the bottom of the feet to the top of the head, when standing erect.
  22. Homeostasis - Is the ideal health state in the human body.
  23. Hypertension - High blood pressure
  24. Hyperthermia - Occurs when the body temperature exceeds 104 degrees, measured rectally.
  25. Hypotension - Low blood pressure
  26. Hypothermia - A low body temperature, below 95 degrees measured rectally.
  27. Oral temperatures - Are taken in the mouth. This is usually the most common, convenient, and comfortable method of obtaining a temperature.
  28. Palpation - Technique used to feel the texture, size, consistency, and location of parts of the body with the hands
  29. Percussion - Technique of tapping with the fingertips to evaluate size, borders, and consistency of internal structures of the body
  30. Pulse - Pressure of the blood felt against the wall of an artery as the heart contracts or beats
  31. Pulse deficit - The difference between the rate of an apical pulse and the rate of a radial pulse
  32. Pulse pressure - The difference between systolic and diastolic blood pressure
  33. Pupil - The black center of the eye
  34. Radial Pulse - The pulse felt at the wrist
  35. Rate - Number per minute, as with pulse and respiration counts
  36. Reactivity - In the pupil of the eyes, reacting to light by changing size
  37. Rectal temperatures - Are taken in the rectum and is the most accurate of all methods
  38. Respiration - the process of taking in oxygen (02) and expelling carbon dioxide (CO2) from the lungs and respiratory tract.
  39. Rhythm - Referring to regularity; regular or irregular
  40. Sign - An indication of a patient's condition that is objective, or can be observed by another person; an indication that can be seen, heard, smelled or felt by the medical practioner
  41. Sphygmomanometer - instrument calibrated for measuring blood pressure in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg)
  42. Stethoscope - Instrument used for listening to internal body sounds
  43. Symptom - An indication of a patient's condition that cannot be observed by another person but rather is subjective, or felt and reported by the patient
  44. Systolic Blood Pressure - The pressure created in the arteries by the blood during ventricular contraction
  45. Tachycardia - Fast, or rapid, heartbeat (usually more than 100 beats per minute in an adult)
  46. Tachypnea - Respiratory rate abovve 25 respirations per minute.
  47. Temperature - The balance between heat lost an heat produced by the body
  48. Thermometer - Instrument used to measure temperature
  49. Tympanic Thermometers - are specialized electronic thermometers that record the aural temperature in the ear.
  50. Vital Signs - Outward signs of what is going on inside the body, including respiration; pulse; skin color, temperature, and condition (plus capillary refill in infants and children); pupils; and blood pressure

SAMPLE History:
S - Signs and symptoms
A - Allergies
M - Medications
L - Last oral intake
E - Events leading to the illness or injury

Vital Signs Resources:
Vital Signs - Wikipedia
Vital Signs - The University of Virginia
Vital Signs Normal Values
Normal Vital Signs - Medline Plus
Vital Signs - Google Books
Vital Signs - United Technical Center

Vital Signs Quizzes & Tests