Vital signs are measurements of the most basic functions of the body, and they reflect the health status of a patient. They are usually performed as a first step of an investigation into a medical condition, in order to establish a baseline. Subsequent measurements are then performed to monitor a patient. Fluctuations in the measurements can indicate an abnormality.
Some examples of when they are useful are:
Some of the most common vital signs are:
- Body temperature
- Blood pressure – the force at which blood is applied to the vessels
- Pulse rate – the number of times the heart beats per minute
- Respiratory rate – the number of breaths a person takes per minute
These vital signs are measured and tracked by an electronic device known as a vital signs monitor. Some of these monitors also include other vital signs, such as oxygen saturation and cardiac output.
With advances in modern technology, vital signs can now be tracked with a wearable medical device that is worn like a watch or ring. This has led to remote patient monitoring, which is beneficial for both healthcare providers and the patient.