Respiratory Examination

Use our respiratory examination template as a guide during your assessment and document to record the results. Click here for a free copy!

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What is a Respiratory Examination?

A assesses the patient’s lungs and other body parts, such as the hands, face, chest, and neck, to check for signs and symptoms of respiratory distress or lung disease.

Similar to other clinical examinations, the healthcare professional conducting the test must do the following four things:

  • Inspection
  • Palpation
  • Percussion
  • Auscultation

Depending on the situation and the practitioner's preference, the examination's order may vary from one practitioner to another. However, this generally happens during a respiration exam per body part.


  • The practitioner inspects the hands for cyanosis, thinned skin, clubbing, clubbing, tremors/asterixis, and erythema.
  • They also palpate the patient’s arms to check their temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate.

Face, Eyes, and Mouth

  • The practitioner assesses the patient’s jugular venous pressure (JVP) and inspects the face, eyes, and mouth for cyanosis, pallor, horner’s syndrome, poor dentition, oral candidiasis, and more.

Chest and Trachea

  • The practitioner begins the assessment of the chest by inspecting it for any chest wall deformities, skin changes, abnormal breathing patterns, and scars.
  • They palpate the chest to check for a displaced apex beat and the trachea for any deviation or abnormal criscosternal distance.
  • Assessing the patient’s chest expansion will require both inspection and palpation.
  • The final steps are percussing and auscultating the anterior and posterior chest wall to check percussion notes, vocal resonance, breath sound quality and volume, etc.

Lymph Nodes and Other Parts

  • Before the practitioner switches to the anterior or posterior chest wall, the practitioner will palpate the lymph nodes for lymphadenopathy.
  • When all the tests mentioned above are completed, the practitioner will also palpate other parts of the patient’s body to check for sacral and pedal edema, deep vein thrombosis, and erythema nodosum.

Once all the involved body parts have been checked, the practitioner usually concludes a respiratory examination by summarizing their findings.

Check out this video to see how Respiratory Examinations are performed:

Printable Respiratory Examination

Download this Respiratory Examination to accurately assess your clients.

How does it work? 

Step One. Download the Template

Access and download a copy of our printable respiratory examination template by: 

  • Clicking the “Use this Template” or “Download this Template” button above.
  • Searching for “Respiratory Examination” in Carepatron’s template library on our website or app. 

Step Two. Pre-Test Preparations

Before you can conduct the test, it’s essential to do the following pre-test preparations:

  • Confirm the patient details by asking them to fill out the necessary basic information on the template
  • Explain how the test will be conducted
  • Ensure that they consent 
  • Prepare a stethoscope 
  • Look around their bed for any equipment or paraphernalia
  • Ask if they’re undergoing any treatment

Step Three. Conduct the Test

After finishing the pre-test preparations, you may conduct the test by inspecting the patient from the end of the bed and then inspecting, palpating, percussing, and auscultating the respective body parts. 

Step Four. Recond the Results

After every step or observation, it’s highly recommended that you write down the results so that summarizing your findings will be easier. 

Step Five. Next Steps

Summarize the results and your findings at the bottom of the template. You can also suggest further examinations before formulating a diagnosis or treatment plan. 

Respiratory Examination Assessment Example (Sample)

Check out an example of a filled-out Respiratory Examination PDF template. This will give you an idea of how this assessment may look when completed. 

For an offline copy you can use as a future reference, click the sample below or the “Download Example PDF” button above.

Download this Respiratory Examination Example (Sample) here:

Respiratory Examination Assessment Example (Sample)

When would you use this Template? 

Practitioners can use this respiratory examination template when conducting a respiratory assessment on their patients. 

It’s best if the practitioner does this test before the patient is in respiratory distress, like when undergoing a physical examination or comprehensive check-up. 

However, the template will come in handy when the patient exhibits symptoms of respiratory problems. 

For your benefit, we listen down the symptoms below so you’ll know when to bring out a copy of our template and conduct a respiratory examination. 

  • Shortness of breath
  • A bluish color is seen around the mouth, inside the lips or fingernails
  • Pale or gray skin color
  • Grunting, coughing, or wheezing sounds 
  • Flaring of the nose
  • Sweating
  • Retractions or when the chest sinks below the neck

In these situations, it’s important to note that addressing the patient’s condition is the priority and not necessarily completing all the test sections. 


Comprehensive and Structured

We’ve designed our free respiratory examination template to be comprehensive and structured but still easy enough for you to follow. That way, you don’t have to worry about forgetting to assess a vital body part or spend extra time thinking of what to do next. As a result, you’ll save time and effort when conducting the test. 

Early Recognition and Prevention

Since the test ensures that all bases are checked, you’ll be able to recognize symptoms and prevent them from worsening or turning into a disease. 

Written Copies of Results

With a document where you can write the results, you will reduce the risk of forgetting your findings. To add, if you recommend that the patient undergo further tests, other practitioners will have a basis or reason for pushing through with their examination. 

Fully Digital 

Since our template is fully digital, you can access it on any gadget you have on hand. Filling it up will be a breeze because you can edit it on any local PDF editor on your devices or, for your ease, right on Carepatron’s software, where you can also securely store your filled-up template.

Research & Evidence

Similar to other structured clinical examinations, a few studies prove the respiratory examination template’s usefulness. However, as seen above, there are multiple benefits to utilizing a document that functions as a guide, reference, and record for writing results. If you use it at all, how you maximize the template will ultimately depend on you. 

Commonly asked questions

Who uses respiratory examinations?

Pulmonologists are most likely to use and benefit from our respiratory examinations template.

When do you use respiratory examinations?

You can use it while conducting a respiratory exam or use parts of it when the patient exhibits symptoms that need immediate assessment.

What does a respiratory examination assess?

It assesses a patient’s lungs, hands, face, chest, and neck for any signs or symptoms of lung disease or respiratory distress.

Why use Carepatron as Your Respiratory Examination App?

Carepatron is not only an app where you can obtain a guide and template for a respiratory examination. It is a leading practice management software that can aid you in automating tasks to streamline clinical processes. On Carepatron, there’s more to editing your respiratory exam template on the software.

Download our app on your desktop or iOs/Android gadgets to access the following for free:

  • Over 300 editable, downloadable, and printable PDF templates of medical documents like tests, assessments, and surveys
  • A template creator and medical resource scanner in case you can’t find what you need in our library
  • A HIPAA-compliant secure EHR system for all your digital notes and clients’ medical records
  • Integration with your existing calendars for ease of scheduling and video call solutions for teleconsultation
  • An automated payment system you can set up for your client

Reap the benefits of using all of the features mentioned above and more. Sign up on Carepatron today!

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Who uses respiratory examinations?
Who uses respiratory examinations?
Written by
Patricia Buenaventura
Patricia Buenaventura

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