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Medical Assisting

Vital Signs

Define temperature. Measurement of the balance between heat lost and heat produced.
Define volume. Strength of the pulse.
Define apical pulse. Pulse taken at the apex of the heart with a stethoscope.
Define respirations. Measurement of breaths taken by a patient.
Define stethoscope. Instrument used to take apical pulse.
Define pulse. Pressure of the blood felt against the wall of an artery.
Define rhythm. Regularity of the pulse or respirations.
Define rate. Number of beats per minute.
Define blood pressure. Measurement of the force exerted by the heart against arterial walls.
Define vital signs. Various determinations that provide information about body conditions.
List the four main vital signs. Temperature, pulse, respirations, and blood pressure.
Why is it essential that vital signs are measured accurately? Because they are often the first indication of a disease or abnormality in a patient.
Identify four common sites in the body where temperature can be measured. Mouth (oral), rectum (rectal), armpit (axillary), and ear (aural).
List three factors recorded about a pulse. Rate, rhythm, and volume.
What three factors are noted about a pulse? Respiration count, the rhythm (regularity), the character (type) of respirations are noted.
Identify the two readings noted on a blood pressure. Systolic and diastolic.
List three times you may have to take an apical pulse. Because of illness, hardening of the arteries, and a weak or rapid radial pulse.
What should you do if you note any abnormality or change in any vital sign? Report this immediately to your supervisor.
What should you do if you are not able to obtain a correct reading for vital sign? Ask another individual to check the patient.
What formula do you use to convert Fahrenheit temperatures to Celsius temperatures? C = (F - 32) x 0.5556
What formula do you use to convert Celsius temperatures to Fahrenheit temperatures? F = (C x 1.8) + 32
List three main reasons why temperature may vary. Individual differences, time of day, and body sites.
The normal range for body temperature is __ to __ degrees. 97 to 100
A normal oral temperature is __ degrees. The clinical thermometer is left in place for __ minutes. 97.6 - 99.6 degrees Fahrenheit, 3 - 5 minutes.
A normal rectal temperature is __ degrees. The clinical thermometer is left in place for __ minutes. 98.6 - 100.6 degrees Fahrenheit, 3 - 5 minutes.
A normal axillary temperature is __ degrees. The clinical thermometer is left in place for __ minutes. 96.6 - 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, 10 minutes.
What is the most accurate method for taking a temperature? Why? Rectal temperatures, because this is an internal measurement.
What is the least accurate method for taking a temperature? Why? Axillary temperatures, because this is an external measurement.
What is an aural temperature? A temperature taken with a special tympanic thermometer that is placed in the ear or auditory canal.
How does an aural thermometer measure temperature? The thermometer detects and measures the thermal, infrared energy radiating from blood vessels in the tympanic membrane, or eardrum.
What is the difference between hyperthermia and hypothermia? Hypothermia is a low body temperature, below 95 degrees Fahrenheit or 35 degrees Celsius. Hyperthermia occurs when the body temperature exceeds 104 degrees Fahrenheit or 40 degrees Celsius measured rectally.
List two ways you can tell a rectal clinical thermometer from an oral clinical thermometer. A clinical thermometer consists of a slender glass tube containing mercury or alcohol with red dye, which expands when exposed to heat. The oral clinical thermometer has a long, slender bulb or a blue tip.
How can you prevent cross contamination while using the probe of an electronic thermometer? A person should change the disposable cover on the electronic thermometer after each use.
How do plastic or paper thermometers register body temperature? They have chemical dots that change color to register body temperature.
Why is it important to ask patients if they have had anything to eat or drink or if they have smoked before taking an oral temperature? Because if they did any one of these things could alter the temperature in the mouth.
How long should a thermometer soak in a disinfectant (after cleaning) before it is safe to rinse in cold water and use on a patient? A minimum of thirty minutes.
The three factors that must be noted about each and every pulse are. Rate, rhythm, and volume of the pulse.
What is the normal pulse range for adults? 60 - 100 beats per minute.
What is the normal pulse range for children over 7 years old? 70 - 100 beats per minute.
What is the normal pulse range for children from 1 to 7 years old? 80 - 110 beats per minute.
What is the normal pulse range for infants? 100 - 160 beats per minute.
List three factors that could cause an increase in a pulse rate. Exercise, stimulant drugs, and excitement.
List three factors that could cause a decrease in a pulse rate. Sleep, depressant drugs, and coma.
In an adult, a pulse rate under 60 beats per minute is called __. A pulse rate above 100 beats per minute is called __. An irregular or abnormal rhythm is a __. bradycardia, tachycardia, arrhythmia
Define respiration. Process of taking in oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide from the lungs and respiratory tract.
One respiration consists of one __ and one __. inspiration (breathing in) and expiration (breathing out)
What is the normal rate for respirations in adults? 12 - 20 breaths per minute.
What is the normal rate for respirations in children? 16 - 30 breaths per minute.
What is the normal rate for respirations in infants? 30 - 50 breaths per minute.
List four words to describe the character or volume of respirations. Deep, shallow, labored, and difficult.
List two words to describe the rhythm of respirations. Regular and irregular.
Define dyspnea. Difficult or labored breathing.
Define apnea. Absence of respirations, usually a temporary period of no respirations.
Define Cheyne Stokes. Abnormal breathing pattern characterized by periods of dyspnea followed by periods of apnea; frequently noted in the dying patient.
Define rales. Bubbling or noisy sounds caused by fluids or mucus in the air passages.
Define tachypnea Rapid, shallow respiratory rate above 25 respirations per minute.
Define bradypnea Slow respiratory rate, usually below 10 respirations per minute.
Define wheezing. Difficult breathing with a high pitched whistling or sighing sound during expiration.
Why is it important that the patient is not aware that you are counting respirations? Because respirations are partially under voluntary control, patients may breathe more quickly or more slowly when they become aware of the fact that respirations are being counted.
If you are taking a TPR, how can you count respirations without letting the patient know that you are doing it? Leave your hand on the pulse site while counting respirations.
Created by: sheeba1cindy