Physical Examination

Physical examination is also part of risk assessment.15,16 The general appearance of the patient provides invaluable clues regarding his/her overall health status. Cyanosis, pallor, diaphoresis, shortness of breath, tightness and/or pain in the chest with minimal activity, tremor, anxiety, and peripheral edema are signs and symptoms of underlying systemic disease. Critically, the physical examination must also include a determination of the patient’s vital signs (Table 5).

Table 5. Vital Signs: Normal Values.16
  • Pulse rate - normal: 60 to 100 beats per minute (also note rhythm and pressure)
  • Blood pressure - normal: <120/80 mm Hg
  • Respiration - normal: 16 to 20 breaths per minute
  • Temperature - normal: 37 °C (98.6°F)