Medical assessment

If you have not been trained in respiratory assessment techniques and interpreting their findings you should refer your patient/client to a nurse specialist or GP with experience of or a special interest in lung conditions. They will do some or all of the following:


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Auscultation and Percussion: listening to chest sounds via stethoscope and tapping on the chest to listen for sounds.

Pulse rate and rhythm: this can indicate heart problems or hypoxia (lower than normal oxygen levels).

Respiratory rate: how fast or slow the breathing pattern is.

Peak flow meter: to test rate of air flow and lung capacity on a forced out breath.

Blood oxygen level and temperature: if temperature is raised this may indicate signs of infection. Oxygen saturation (the level of oxygen in the blood).

Body Mass Index (BMI): underweight or overweight can indicate underlying conditions, poor diet, inactivity or poor nutritional intake.