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Fall Semester
Regina Garrard BSNMT , RT(N)

The ability of the body or a cell to

seek and maintain a condition of
equilibrium or stability within its
internal environment when dealing
with external changes
Homeostasis Example
(regulation of body temperature)
VITAL SIGNS are mechanisms that can
adapt to responses inside or outside the
body to maintain homeostasis.

They are:
Body Temperature
Blood Pressure
Sensorium (Patient alertness)
• often reported along with the other vital signs
When do you check vital signs?

When the patient comes into your department

When the patient is going to have an invasive procedure

When the patient is going to have drugs administered

When the patient’s general state of health changes

Body Temperature is the measurement of
the degree of heat of the deep tissues of
the body

Methods used to measure body temperature:

Normal Values

Body temperature is measured in either degrees

Fahrenheit (F) or degrees Celsius (C)

•Oral - 97.9 to 99.5F (36.5 to 37.5C)

•Axillary – Slightly lower

•Rectal and Temporal – approximately 1 higher than oral


Oral temperature higher than 99.5

Used to describe a patient with a fever

Temperature below the normal range
Pulse is the rhythmical throbbing of the artery
walls produced by the contractions and
expansions of the heart

Methods used to measure pulse (rate)

• Palpation
• Auscultation (apical pulse)

*Pulse Oximeter- noninvasive device used to

provide ongoing assessment of the patient’s
hemoglobin saturation level and pulse rate.
Pulse Palpation Sites

Carotid artery Posterior Tibial

Radial artery Femoral

Brachial artery Popliteal

Dorsalis Pedis

G. Popliteal
How To Take A Pulse

 Use 2nd and 3rd fingers

“NOT your thumb”

 Place fingers over artery

and press lightly

 Feel for throbbing

 Using a watch or clock, count from zero for 30 seconds (X 2)

 Record pulse rate (bpm) and other characteristics

• Regular
• Irregular

Apical Pulse
Pulse Oximeter
Normal Values

Adults 55-90 bpm

• Males average 60-70 bpm
• Females average 70-80 bpm

Children 70-110 bpm

Infants 100-180 bpm

Tachycardia – Fast heart rate > 100 bpm

Bradycardia – Slow heart rate < 60 bpm

Arrhythmia – Irregular heart rate or rhythm

Blood Pressure is the pressure exerted by the
blood against the arterial walls during the
contraction and relaxation of the heart

Devices used to measure blood pressure

• Aneroid
• Mercury
Automated device
Aneroid Mercury

Binaural pieces

Flexible tubing

Chest piece
Bell and diaphragm

Automated blood pressure devices
Blood Pressure Components

Systolic – the pressure measured

during contraction of the ventricles

Diastolic – the pressure measured

during ventricle relaxation
Choosing the right cuff size

 Adult extra large

Adult regular
Does size matter ?

When choosing the correct size Blood Pressure cuff:
 Too Small – Can falsely elevate blood pressures by as much as
10 to 40 mmHg

 Too Large – Can also lead to false readings – Lower reading

When NOT to use an arm:

 When IV fluids are running into the arm

 After breast surgery

 Blunt trauma to the arm

 Other devices inserted into the arm (Shunt)

 Presence of significant edema (swelling)

Steps to taking an accurate BP measurement

1. Select the appropriate arm and cuff size.

2. Palpate the brachial artery.
3. Wrap the cuff smoothly and snugly
around the arm, centering the bladder
over the artery. The lower cuff edge
should be one inch above the anticubital fossa.
4. Insert the stethoscope ear pieces into your ears, lightly place
the diaphragm over the palpable artery making sure you have
complete contact.
Steps to taking an accurate BP measurement (cont.)

5. Inflate the cuff until you no longer hear the pulse.

6. Release the air slowly.

7. Listen for the onset of at least two consecutive beats. Note the
closest even number on the manometer. This is the Systolic

8. Listen for a muffling or cessation of beats. Note the closest even

number on the manometer. Continue listening to confirm your
reading. This is the Diastolic pressure.

9. Record the patient’s blood pressure (systolic/diastolic), Cuff

size and arm used.
10 Factors That Can Affect Blood Pressure Readings

• Incorrect Blood Pressure Cuff Size

• Blood Pressure Cuff Over Clothing
• Not Resting 3-5 Minutes Prior to Checking BP
• Arms, Back and/or Feet Unsupported
• Emotional State
• Talking
• Smoking
• Alcohol/Caffeine
• Temperature
• Full Bladder
Blood Pressure Values
Blood Pressure Systolic Diastolic
Category (top number) (bottom number)

Normal Less than 120 and Less than 80

Prehypertension 120 - 139 or 80 - 89

High Blood Pressure 140 - 159 or 90 - 99

(Hypertension) Stage 1

High Blood Pressure 160 or higher or 100 or higher

(Hypertension) Stage 2

Hypertensive Crisis Higher than 180 or Higher than 110

(Emergency care needed)

* American Heart Association

Hypertension is a chronic medical condition in which the systemic
arterial blood is elevated
Temporary High Blood Pressure:
• Anxiety “White Coat” Syndrome
• Fear
• Pain
• Fluid overload

Hypotension is abnormally low blood pressure – below 90/60 mm Hg

Temporary Low Blood Pressure:
• Fluid loss
• Medications
• Orthostatic

* Athletic Heart
Respiration is the act or process of inhaling
and exhaling (breathing; ventilation) The
major muscle of ventilation is the diaphragm

The respiratory rate is assessed by observing and counting

the rise (inspiration) and fall (expiration) of the chest.
Measuring Respiration Rate

Most accurate if done without the patient’s knowledge

•They often alter their breathing rate and pattern
Should be counted for 1 minute for accuracy
Note the Depth
Note the Pattern
Normal values Abnormalities

Adults (rest) Tachypnea

• 12-20 breaths per minute • > 20 breaths per minute

Children (rest) • Decrease in respiratory rate
• 20-30 breaths per minute
• Difficulty breathing
• 30-60 breaths per minute Apnea
• Absence of spontaneous
Sensorium is the state of an individual as it
relates to their consciousness and or their

Responsiveness Skin color and condition

• Verbal • Pallor
• Motor • Cyanosis
• Eye reactions • Diaphoresis
Affect • Erythema
• Flat
• Urticaria
• Withdrawn
• Ecchimosis
• Restless
• Friable
• Agitated
• Clamminess
• Combative
Basic Cardiac Monitoring
The Electrocardiogram : a test that checks for problems with the
electrical activity of your heart. Also known as an EKG or ECG.
Types of EKGs:
• 3 lead
• 5 lead
• 12 lead
Electrocardiographic Tracing

EKG Tracing with

Labeled Waves
Common Arrhythmias (Dysrhythmias)

Normal Sinus Rhythm

Sinus Brady


Normal Sinus
Rhythm with



Cardiac Devices

Cardiac Devices continued

The End