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Vital Signs

Outward signs of what is going on inside the body, including respiration; pulse; skin color, temperature, and condition (pulse capillary refill in infants and children); pupils; and blood pressure


The rhythmic beats felt as the heart pumps blood through the arteries

Pulse Rate

The number of pulse beats per minute


A rapid pulse; any pulse rate above 100 beats per minute


A slow pulse; any pulse rate below 60 beats per minute

Pulse Quality

The rhythm (regular or irregular) and force (strong or weak) of the pulse

Radial Pulse

The pulse felt at the wrist

Brachial Pulse

The pulse felt in the upper arm

Carotid Pulse

The pulse felt along the large carotid artery on either side of the neck


The act of breathing in and breathing out

Respiratory Rate

The number of breaths taken in 1 minute

Respiratory quality

The normal or abnormal (shallow, labored, or noisy) character of breathing

Respiratory Rhythm

The regular or irregular spacing of breaths


The black center of the eye


Get larger


Get smaller


In the pupils of the eyes, reacting to light by changing size

Blood Pressure

The force of blood against the walls of the blood vessels

Systolic Blood Pressure

The pressure created when the heart contracts and forces blood out into the arteries

Diastolic Blood Pressure

The pressure remaining in the arteries when the left ventricle of the heart is relaxed and refilling


The cuff and gauge used to measure blood pressure

Brachial Artery

The major artery of the arm


Listening. A stethoscope is used to auscultate for characteristic sounds.


Touching or feeling. A pulse or blood pressure may be palpated with the fingertips.

Blood Pressure Monitor

Machine that automatically inflates a blood pressure cuff and measures blood pressure

Pulse Oximeter

An electronic device for determining the amount of oxygen carried in the blood, known as the oxygen saturation or SpO2

Oxygen Saturation (SpO2)

The ratio of the amount of oxygen present in the blood to the amount that could be carried, expressed as a percentage.


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 EMT or others


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.

SAMPLE History

The present and past medical history of a patient, so called because the elements of the history begin with the letters of the word sample: signs/symptoms, allergies, medications, pertinent past history, last oral intake, events leading to the injury or illness

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