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NurseReview.Org - Vital Signs

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Published on April 30, 2008

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http://NurseReview.Org Vital Signs
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Vital Signs Nursing 125

Vital Signs Temperature, pulse, respiration, blood pressure (B/P) & oxygen saturation are the most frequent measurements taken by HCP. Because of the importance of these measurements they are referred to as Vital Signs. They are important indicators of the body’s response to physical, environmental, and psychological stressors.

Temperature, pulse, respiration, blood pressure (B/P) & oxygen saturation are the most frequent measurements taken by HCP.

Because of the importance of these measurements they are referred to as Vital Signs. They are important indicators of the body’s response to physical, environmental, and psychological stressors.

Vital Signs VS may reveal sudden changes in a client’s condition in addition to changes that occur progressively over time. A baseline set of VS are important to identify changes in the patient’s condition. VS are part of a routine physical assessment and are not assessed in isolation. Other factors such as physical signs & symptoms are also considered. Important Consideration: A client’s normal range of vital signs may differ from the standard range.

VS may reveal sudden changes in a client’s condition in addition to changes that occur progressively over time. A baseline set of VS are important to identify changes in the patient’s condition.

VS are part of a routine physical assessment and are not assessed in isolation. Other factors such as physical signs & symptoms are also considered.

Important Consideration:

A client’s normal range of vital signs may differ from the standard range.

When to take vital signs On a client’s admission According to the physician’s order or the institution’s policy or standard of practice When assessing the client during home health visit Before & after a surgical or invasive diagnostic procedure Before & after the administration of meds or therapy that affect cardiovascular, respiratory & temperature control functions. When the client’s general physical condition changes LOC, pain Before, after & during nursing interventions influencing vital signs When client reports symptoms of physical distress

On a client’s admission

According to the physician’s order or the institution’s policy or standard of practice

When assessing the client during home health visit

Before & after a surgical or invasive diagnostic procedure

Before & after the administration of meds or therapy that affect cardiovascular, respiratory & temperature control functions.

When the client’s general physical condition changes LOC, pain

Before, after & during nursing interventions influencing vital signs

When client reports symptoms of physical distress

Body Temperature Core temperature – temperature of the body tissues, is controlled by the hypothalamus (control center in the brain) – maintained within a narrow range. Skin temperature rises & falls in response to environmental conditions & depends on bld flow to skin & amt. of heat lost to external environment The body’s tissues & cells function best between the range from 36 deg C to 38 deg C Temperature is lowest in the morning, highest during the evening.

Core temperature – temperature of the body tissues, is controlled by the hypothalamus (control center in the brain) – maintained within a narrow range.

Skin temperature rises & falls in response to environmental conditions & depends on bld flow to skin & amt. of heat lost to external environment

The body’s tissues & cells function best between the range from 36 deg C to 38 deg C

Temperature is lowest in the morning, highest during the evening.

Thermometers – 3 types Glass mercury – mercury expands or contracts in response to heat. (just recently non mercury) Electronic – heat sensitive probe, (reads in seconds) there is a probe for oral/axillary use (red) & a probe for rectal use (blue). There are disposable plastic cover for each use. Relies on battery power – return to charging unit after use. Infrared Tympanic (Ear) – sensor probe shaped like an otoscope in external opening of ear canal. Ear canal must be sealed & probe sensor aimed at tympanic membrane – ret’n to charging unit after use.

Glass mercury – mercury expands or contracts in response to heat. (just recently non mercury)

Electronic – heat sensitive probe, (reads in seconds) there is a probe for oral/axillary use (red) & a probe for rectal use (blue). There are disposable plastic cover for each use. Relies on battery power – return to charging unit after use.

Infrared Tympanic (Ear) – sensor probe shaped like an otoscope in external opening of ear canal. Ear canal must be sealed & probe sensor aimed at tympanic membrane – ret’n to charging unit after use.

Sites (P&P p. 216) 2-3 seconds Rapid measurement Easy assessibility Cerumen impaction distorts reading Otitis media can distort reading Ear Close to hypothalmus – sensitive to core temp. changes Adult - Pull pinna up & back Child – pull pinna down & back Leave in place 2-3 min. Measures 0.5 C higher than oral When unsafe or inaccurate by mouth (unconscious, disoriented or irrational) Side lying position – leg flexed Rectal Side lying with upper leg flexed, insert lubricated bulb (1-11/2 inch adult) (1/2 inch infant) Leave in place 5-10 min. Measures 0.5 C lower than oral temp. Non invasive – good for children. Less accurate (no major bld vessels nearby) Axillary Bulb in center of axilla Lower arm position across chest Leave in place 3 min No hot or cold drinks or smoking 20 min prior to temp. Must be awake & alert. Not for small children (bite down) Oral Posterior sublingual pocket – under tongue (close to carotid artery)

Assessing Radial Pulse Left ventricle contracts causing a wave of bld to surge through arteries – called a pulse. Felt by palpating artery lightly against underlying bone or muscle. Carotid, brachial, radial, femoral, popliteal, posterior tibial, dorsalis pedis P&P p. 226 Assess: rate, rhythm, strength – can assess by using palpation & auscultation. Pulse deficit – the difference between the radial pulse and the apical pulse – indicates a decrease in peripheral perfusion from some heart conditions ie. Atrial fibrillation.

Left ventricle contracts causing a wave of bld to surge through arteries – called a pulse. Felt by palpating artery lightly against underlying bone or muscle.

Carotid, brachial, radial, femoral, popliteal, posterior tibial, dorsalis pedis P&P p. 226

Assess: rate, rhythm, strength – can assess by using palpation & auscultation.

Pulse deficit – the difference between the radial pulse and the apical pulse – indicates a decrease in peripheral perfusion from some heart conditions ie. Atrial fibrillation.

Procedure for Assessing Pulses Peripheral – place 2 nd , 3 rd & 4 th fingers lightly on skin where an artery passes over an underlying bone. Do not use your thumb (feel pulsations of your own radial artery). Count 30 seconds X 2, if irregular – count radial for 1 min. and then apically for full minute. Apical – beat of the heart at it’s apex or PMI (point of maximum impulse) – 5 th intercostal space, midclavicular line, just below lt. nipple – listen for a full minute “Lub-Dub” Lub – close of atrioventricular (AV) values – tricuspid & mitral valves Dub – close of semilunar valves – aortic & pulmonic valves

Peripheral – place 2 nd , 3 rd & 4 th fingers lightly on skin where an artery passes over an underlying bone. Do not use your thumb (feel pulsations of your own radial artery). Count 30 seconds X 2, if irregular – count radial for 1 min. and then apically for full minute.

Apical – beat of the heart at it’s apex or PMI (point of maximum impulse) – 5 th intercostal space, midclavicular line, just below lt. nipple – listen for a full minute “Lub-Dub”

Lub – close of atrioventricular (AV) values – tricuspid & mitral valves

Dub – close of semilunar valves – aortic & pulmonic valves

Assess: rate, rhythm, strength & tension Rate – N – 60-100, average 80 bpm Tachycardia – greater than 100 bpm Bradycardia – less than 60 bpm Rhythm – the pattern of the beats (regular or irregular) Strength or size – or amplitude, the volume of bld pushed against the wall of an artery during the ventricular contraction weak or thready (lacks fullness) Full, bounding (volume higher than normal) Imperceptible (cannot be felt or heard) 0----------------- 1+ -----------------2+--------------- 3+ ----------------4+ Absent Weak NORMAL Full Bounding

Rate – N – 60-100, average 80 bpm

Tachycardia – greater than 100 bpm

Bradycardia – less than 60 bpm

Rhythm – the pattern of the beats (regular or irregular)

Strength or size – or amplitude, the volume of bld pushed against the wall of an artery during the ventricular contraction

weak or thready (lacks fullness)

Full, bounding (volume higher than normal)

Imperceptible (cannot be felt or heard)

0----------------- 1+ -----------------2+--------------- 3+ ----------------4+

Absent Weak NORMAL Full Bounding

Normal Heart Rate Heart Rate (Beats/min) Age 60-100 Adult 60-90 Adolescent 75-100 School agers 80-110 Preschoolers 90-140 Toddlers 120-160 Infants

Assess (cont.) Tension – or elasticity, the compressibility of the arterial wall, is pulse obliterated by slight pressure (low tension or soft) Stethoscope Diaphragm – high pitched sounds, bowel, lung & heart sounds – tight seal Bell – low pitched sounds, heart & vascular sounds, apply bell lightly (hint think of Bell with the “L” for Low)

Tension – or elasticity, the compressibility of the arterial wall, is pulse obliterated by slight pressure (low tension or soft)

Stethoscope

Diaphragm – high pitched sounds, bowel, lung & heart sounds – tight seal

Bell – low pitched sounds, heart & vascular sounds, apply bell lightly (hint think of Bell with the “L” for Low)

Respirations Assess by observing rate, rhythm & depth Inspiration – inhalation (breathing in) Expiration – exhalation (breathing out) I&E is automatic & controlled by the medulla oblongata (respiratory center of brain) Normal breathing is active & passive Women breathe thoracically, while men & young children breathe diaphramatically ***usually Asses after taking pulse, while still holding hand, so pt is unaware you are counting respiratons

Assess by observing rate, rhythm & depth

Inspiration – inhalation (breathing in)

Expiration – exhalation (breathing out)

I&E is automatic & controlled by the medulla oblongata (respiratory center of brain)

Normal breathing is active & passive

Women breathe thoracically, while men & young children breathe diaphramatically ***usually

Asses after taking pulse, while still holding hand, so pt is unaware you are counting respiratons

Assessing Respiration Digressions from normal effortless breathing Dyspnea – difficult or labored breathing Cheyne-Stokes – alternating periods of apnea and hyperventilation, gradual increase & decrease in rate & depth of resp. with period of apnea at the end of each cycle. Character Regularity of inhalation/exhalation Normal (very little variation in length of pauses b/w I&E Rhythm Amt. of air inhaled/exhaled normal (deep & even movements of chest) shallow (rise & fall of chest is minimal) SOB shortness of breath (shallow & rapid) Depth # of breathing cycles/minute (inhale/exhale-1cycle) N – 12-20 breaths/min – adult - Eupnea – normal rate & depth breathing Abnormal increase – tachypnea Abnormal decrease – bradypnea Absence of breathing – apnea Rate

Blood Pressure Force exerted by the bld against vessel walls. Pressure of bld within the arteries of the body – lt. ventricle contracts – bld is forced out into the aorta to the lg arteries, smaller arteries & capillaries Systolic- force exerted against the arterial wall as lt. ventricle contracts & pumps bld into the aorta – max. pressure exerted on vessel wall. Diastolic – arterial pressure during ventricular relaxation, when the heart is filling, minimum pressure in arteries. Factors affecting B/P lower during sleep Lower with bld loss Position changes B/P Anything causing vessels to dilate or constrict - medications

Force exerted by the bld against vessel walls. Pressure of bld within the arteries of the body – lt. ventricle contracts – bld is forced out into the aorta to the lg arteries, smaller arteries & capillaries

Systolic- force exerted against the arterial wall as lt. ventricle contracts & pumps bld into the aorta – max. pressure exerted on vessel wall.

Diastolic – arterial pressure during ventricular relaxation, when the heart is filling, minimum pressure in arteries.

Factors affecting B/P

lower during sleep

Lower with bld loss

Position changes B/P

Anything causing vessels to dilate or constrict - medications

B/P (cont.) P&P p. 240 see table 9-3 Measured in mmHg – millimeters of mercury Normal range syst 110-140 dias 60-90 Hypertensive - >160, >90 Hypotensive <90 Non invasive method of B/P measurement Sphygmomanometer, stethoscope 3 types of sphygmomanometers Aneroid – glass enclosed circular gauge with needle that registers the B/P as it descends the calibrations on the dial. Mercury – mercury in glass tube - more reliable – read at eye level. Electronic – cuff with built in pressure transducer reads systolic & diastolic B/P

Measured in mmHg – millimeters of mercury

Normal range

syst 110-140 dias 60-90

Hypertensive - >160, >90

Hypotensive <90

Non invasive method of B/P measurement

Sphygmomanometer, stethoscope

3 types of sphygmomanometers

Aneroid – glass enclosed circular gauge with needle that registers the B/P as it descends the calibrations on the dial.

Mercury – mercury in glass tube - more reliable – read at eye level.

Electronic – cuff with built in pressure transducer reads systolic & diastolic B/P

B/P (cont.) Cuff – inflatable rubber bladder, tube connects to the manometer, another to the bulb, important to have correct cuff size (judge by circumference of the arm not age) Support arm at heart level, palm turned upward - above heart causes false low reading Cuff too wide – false low reading Cuff too narrow – false high reading Cuff too loose – false high reading Listen for Korotkoff sounds – series of sounds created as bld flows through an artery after it has been occluded with a cuff then cuff pressure is gradually released. P&P p. 240. Do not take B/P in Arm with cast Arm with arteriovenous (AV) fistula Arm on the side of a mastectomy i.e. rt mastectomy, rt arm

Cuff – inflatable rubber bladder, tube connects to the manometer, another to the bulb, important to have correct cuff size (judge by circumference of the arm not age)

Support arm at heart level, palm turned upward - above heart causes false low reading

Cuff too wide – false low reading

Cuff too narrow – false high reading

Cuff too loose – false high reading

Listen for Korotkoff sounds – series of sounds created as bld flows through an artery after it has been occluded with a cuff then cuff pressure is gradually released. P&P p. 240.

Do not take B/P in

Arm with cast

Arm with arteriovenous (AV) fistula

Arm on the side of a mastectomy i.e. rt mastectomy, rt arm

Procedure – B/P Palpate brachial pulse Position cuff 1inch above pulse - Arm at level of heart, wrap snugly around arm Manometer at eye level Implementation Expected outcome Have pt rest 5 min before taking B/Pa Wash hands Planning Decreased cardiac output Fluid volume excess Fluid volume deficit Nursing Diagnosis Determine best site & baseline B/P Assessment

Procedure (cont.) Inflate cuff while palpating brachial Artery. Note reading at which pulse disappears continue to Inflate cuff 30 mmHg above this point. Deflate cuff slowly and note when reading when pulse is felt. Deflate cuff completely and wait 30 sec. With stethoscope in ears locate the brachial artery – place diaphragm over site Close valve of pressure bulb. Inflate cuff 30 mm hg above palpated systolic pressure Slowly release valve Note point on manometer when first clear sound is heard (1 st phase Korotkoff) – systolic pressure Continue to deflate noting point @ which sound disappears – 5 th phase Korotkoff (4 th korotkoff in children Deflate & remove cuff Implementation

B/P Lower Extremity Best position prone – if not – supine with knee slightly flexed, locate popliteal artery (back of knee). Large cuff 1 inch above artery, same procedure as arm. Systolic pressure in legs maybe 10-40 mm hg higher If unable to palpate a pulse – you may use a doppler stethoscope

Best position prone – if not – supine with knee slightly flexed, locate popliteal artery (back of knee).

Large cuff 1 inch above artery, same procedure as arm. Systolic pressure in legs maybe 10-40 mm hg higher

If unable to palpate a pulse – you may use a doppler stethoscope

Oxygen Saturation (Pulse Oximetry) Non-invasive measurement of oxygen saturation Calculates SpO2 (pulse oxygen saturation) reliable estimate of arterial oxygen saturation Probes – finger, ear, nose, toe Patient with PVD or Raynauds syndrome – difficult to obtain. Normal – 90-100% Remove nail polish Wait until oximeter readout reaches constant value & pulse display reaches full strength During continuous pulse oximetry monitoring – inspect skin under the probe routinely for skin integrity – rotate probe.

Non-invasive measurement of oxygen saturation

Calculates SpO2 (pulse oxygen saturation) reliable estimate of arterial oxygen saturation

Probes – finger, ear, nose, toe

Patient with PVD or Raynauds syndrome – difficult to obtain.

Normal – 90-100%

Remove nail polish

Wait until oximeter readout reaches constant value & pulse display reaches full strength

During continuous pulse oximetry monitoring – inspect skin under the probe routinely for skin integrity – rotate probe.

Procedure – Vital Signs Explains procedure to client Temperature tympanic - thermometer Pulse - Position client’s arm @ side or across chest, palpate radial artery Resp – Keeps fingers on wrist – count respirations Documents TPR on graphic sheet B/P – correct position, client’s arm supported @ heart level Document Implementation Obtain equipment – thermometer, watch, stethosope, B/P cuff & graphic sheet Wash hands Planning Route of temperature – po, tympanic, axilla, rectal Determines if client has had anything hot/cold to drink or smoked (20 min) Assessment

Vital Signs (cont.) You are assessing a client’s pulse and the rate is irregular. How would you proceed? Critical Thinking V/S within normal range Evaluation

 

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