The Different Types of Vital Signs Monitors

The human body is full of interconnected, complex systems that must function well together for good health. Medical professionals use vital signs monitors to diagnose, treat, and check the body’s essential functions.

Healthcare providers measure respiration rate, temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate with the help of different types of vital signs monitors.

Pulse Oximeters

Pulse oximeters measure the amount of oxygen, or oxygen saturation, in the blood. A pulse oximeter informs providers of how well the heart sends oxygen to the furthest points away from the heart.

One of the vital signs healthcare providers measure is respiration rate, or the number of breaths a person takes per minute. Usually, the doctor can measure respiration rate by simply counting for a minute how many times a patient’s chest rises.

According to a study by Mower et al., respiratory rate measurements do not reliably screen for low oxygen levels in the blood. Therefore, doctors use pulse oximeters to check blood oxygen levels for a variety of reasons, such as when a patient has had a heart attack, pneumonia, or anemia.


Healthcare teams use different types of thermometers to monitor temperature, another vital sign. Normal body temperature varies from person to person, and factors such as age, gender, and overall health influence a person’s normal temperature. Fever, a temporary rise in body temperature, is one of the body’s first responses to infection.

Healthcare teams can use different types of thermometers for monitoring temperature. For children up to three years old, and especially for infants younger than three months of age, rectal thermometers offer the most accurate readings. Temperatures can also be taken from the forehead, mouth, and, least accurately, the armpit.

Blood Pressure Monitors

Blood pressure is a measurement of how strongly or weakly circulating blood presses against blood vessel walls. Medical workers use blood pressure monitors to understand the force and rate of heartbeats and the condition of arterial walls. Many blood pressure monitors also have a heart rate sensor that measures the number of times the heart beats per minute.

Blood pressure readings feature two numbers. The first number, called the systolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats. The second number, the diastolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in the arteries between beats when the heart rests.

All States M.E.D. offers a high-quality selection of vital signs equipment for use in healthcare facilities of any size. We carry portable vital signs monitors and monitors with special features for added convenience. Shop with us today.