Respiratory Assessment


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Respiratory can be either a very simple or a very complicated body system to discuss. It can be as simple as "This patient's lung sounds are clear and they are on room air. No respiratory deficits noted." It can also be as complicated to include ventilators, chest tubes, and oscillators. For your basic respiratory assessment, here are the questions you should be asking yourself: 

Assess their lung sounds. Do they sound clear, coarse, wheezy, rhonchorous (like there is a LOT of fluid moving around), or decreased (not much air moving)? Is their respiratory rate normal (12-20 breaths/minute)? Are they having difficulty breathing? How much oxygen is the patient requiring? Do they have a cough? If so, what are they coughing up? Do they have a sore throat?

An assessment of someone who is does not have an intact respiratory assessment may sound like this: This patient is on eight liters on a simple mask. Their oxygen saturation is at 91% and they are breathing 26 times per minute. Their lungs sound rhoncorous throughout with expiratory wheezes in the left lower lobe. Their chest x-ray showed an empyema (a puss pocket) in the right lower lobe. The patient has a productive cough and can clear their secretions well. They are also complaining of a sore throat with swallowing.