Skip to ContentGo to accessibility pageKeyboard shortcuts menu
OpenStax Logo

accessory muscle use
sign of respiratory distress, using muscles other than the diaphragm and intercostal muscles to aid in the process of breathing
anthropometric measurement
noninvasive quantitative measurement of the human body; examples are height, weight, body mass index, body circumferences, and body fat measurements
anthropometry tape
flexible measuring tape used to determine body circumferences
medication that alleviates a fever
the cessation of breathing
abnormal heart rate and rhythm
the heart fails to contract and produce a pulse
collapsing of the alveoli
auscultatory gap
a brief absence of sound between the origin and disappearance of the Korotkoff sounds during obtainment of blood pressure
bariatric scale
instrument to measure weight in obese and severely obese individuals
bed scale
instrument to measure weight in immobile patients or patients on bed rest, a component of most hospital beds
body mass index (BMI)
a value that is calculated from an individual’s height and weight to provide as measurement relative to the standards for ideal body weight
pulse rate slower than 60 beats per minute
a slower-than-normal respiratory rate (fewer than twelve breaths per minute in adults) at rest
cardiac output
total amount of blood ejected by the heart into circulation in one minute, measured in liters
Cheyne-Stokes respiration
a cyclical breathing pattern involving periods of apnea and hyperventilation that often occurs at end of life
mechanism of heat transfer through direct contact with an object
mechanism of heat transfer that occurs through air or water currents
a bluish or dusky discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes caused by hypoxia
the preferred method of obtaining height for patients unable to stand; the technique involves measuring the distance in centimeters from the middle of the sternal notch to the tip of the middle finger while the arm is at a 90-degree angle to the body and using a conversion factor to compute height
difficult, labored breathing pattern
the transfer of heat through the change of water from a liquid to vapor
an elevated blood pressure
core body temperature hotter than 105.8°F (41°C)
a lowered blood pressure
yellowing of the skin and sclera
Korotkoff sound
the pulsating, tapping sound heard with a stethoscope as blood flows through the brachial artery
Kussmaul respiration
a deep, rapid breathing pattern associated with metabolic acidosis
the respiratory control center of the brain
Modified Early Warning Score (MEWS)
measurement tool that analyzes vital sign data and level of consciousness, which are used to provide an early warning for deterioration in the patient’s status
narrowed pulse pressure
pulse pressure less than 25 percent of the systolic blood pressure (i.e., 110/85)
normal range of body temperature
paleness of the skin and mucous membranes
pulse oximeter
instrument that measures the oxygen saturation of the blood
pulse pressure
difference between the systolic and diastolic blood pressure; normally about 40 mm Hg
fever-inducing substance
mechanism of heat transfer through infrared waves
respiratory depression
slower than normal respiratory rate, generally experienced as a side effect of anesthetics and opioids
skinfold calipers
instrument used to assess the thickness of skinfolds
sling scale
a scale used for completely immobile patients using a sling or piece of large fabric
instrument used to obtain a blood pressure reading, also known as a blood pressure cuff
a height ruler for patients able to stand
medical equipment used to amplify internal body sounds for its user
stroke volume (SV)
the volume of blood pumped out of the left ventricle of the heart during each systolic cardiac contraction
heart rate faster than 100 beats per minute
a respiratory rate that exceeds 20 breaths per minute
instrument used to measure body temperature
the body’s ability to maintain its temperature within a normal range
decrease in the blood vessel diameter
increase in the diameter of the blood vessel
vital sign
a marker of physiological homeostasis and essential in the analysis of monitoring patient progress; obtained by measuring body temperature, pulse, respiratory rate, and blood pressure
widened pulse pressure
pulse pressure more than 100 mm Hg (i.e., 174/69)

This book may not be used in the training of large language models or otherwise be ingested into large language models or generative AI offerings without OpenStax's permission.

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book uses the Creative Commons Attribution License and you must attribute OpenStax.

Attribution information
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a print format, then you must include on every physical page the following attribution:
    Access for free at
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a digital format, then you must include on every digital page view the following attribution:
    Access for free at
Citation information

© Jun 12, 2024 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License . The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.