Many patients evaluated in the Emergency Department have non-emergent conditions that can be treated as an outpatient. Patients arriving at the Emergency Department can be effectively triaged using vital signs and clinical findings.



(1) vital signs

(2) clinical features


Vital Signs in Adolescents or Adults

Age of the Patient

Non-Emergent Range


<= 60

35 to 38.8°C


> 60

35 to 38.3°C

respiratory rate


12 to 20 breaths per minute

blood pressure, systolic


90 to 160 mm Hg

blood pressure, diastolic


60 to 110 mm Hg


<= 60

60 to 110 beats per minute


> 60

60 to 100 beats per minute


Triage to Emergency Department (Exclusions from Being Classified Nonemergent):

(1) severe pain

(2) chest or abdominal pain

(3) age < 15 years

(4) transport by ambulance

(5) inability to walk



• I would think this list could be expanded to include injuries like fractures.


Patients identified as probably nonemergent by the above criteria then have a focused screening examination to look for findings warranting emergency treatment. If this exam is negative, then the patient is triaged out of the Emergency Department.


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