Signs, Triads, and Other Terms

Specialties Emergency


Studying for the CEN and trying to make a list of the signs and triads and other various assessment compilations there are. Any help or previously made lists would be a significant help!


Specializes in Critical Care.

Babinski's reflex, Battle's sign, Brudzinski's sign, Chvostek's sign, Cullen's sign, Cushing's triad, DeMusset's sign, Duroziez's sign, Fremitus, Grey Turner's Sign, Hill's sign, Homan's sign, Janway lesions, Kehr's sign, Kerley's B lines, Kernig's sign, McBurney's point, Muller's sign, Murphy's sign, Psoas sign, Quincke's sign, Roth's spots, Romberg's sign, Somogyi effect, Traube's sign, Trousseau's sign.

I'm sure there are more than just this.

Some of the nclex review books have lists & study guides in the back for these types of things.

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CEN, CPEN, TCRN.

And for a laugh ... Throckmorton sign. (Not good for polite company. :D)

Specializes in ER/ICU/STICU.

Beck's Triad for cardiac tamponade- JVD, hypotension, and muffled heart sounds

Specializes in ER, Trauma ICU, Peds ICU.

Mad as a hatter Hot as a hair Blind as a bat Dry as a bone....triclyclic OD

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CEN, CPEN, TCRN.
Mad as a hatter Hot as a hair Blind as a bat Dry as a bone....triclyclic OD

It's actually more broad -- anticholinergics. Mad as a hatter, blind as a bat, red as a beet, hot as a hare, dry as a bone, something about the heart running alone ... applies to antihistamines, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and antiparkinsonian drugs, plus atropine, scopolamine ... there are more, I can't remember right now. Jimsonweed, I think? Is that the same as datura?

Then there's the cholinergics, with SLUDGE:




Defecation (or diarrhea)

GI distress


I think DUMBELLS is better with the cholinergics, because it includes the bradycardia and pinpoint pupils:









Specializes in ED.

Ok, Lunah....

Did you pull that all out of your brain, or did you reference your book?!?!?

Cause if you just rattled that off without looking, you are GOOD! :bowingpur

ok, i remember that anticholinergics dry you up and cholinergics make you seep from every orifice, but well, that's pretty remarkable.

(i am familiar with the acronyms from TNCC/ACLS..... I plan on working towards my CEN soon :D )

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CEN, CPEN, TCRN.

My brain. It remembers a LOT of trivia, and I learned those back in paramedic school, before I became an RN. :) I really wish I could delete some things, like my phone number from when I was 8 year old ... might free up some space so I can remember things like where I put my car keys. :D

Specializes in Emergency Dept, ICU.

You can expect Beck's triad for sure! Very popular amung board exams

Specializes in Emergency, Critical Care (CEN, CCRN).

Virchow's triad: venous stasis, hypercoagulability, and vessel wall damage/compromise. Predicts risk of vascular thrombosis.

Fireman's sign: the appearance of ST-segment elevation on an ECG, so named because the RST portion of the tracing rises very sharply and then slowly descends toward the isoelectric line, looking like a fire helmet in profile.

Trauma triad, a/k/a "Triad of Death": hypothermia leading to acidosis and coagulopathy in the context of trauma. Portends a dismal outcome.

LunahRN: Yes, jimsonweed is a datura (D. stramonium), and has all the same anticholinergic effects as the other toxic Solanaceae.

Specializes in Trauma/ED.

Understanding some of the most popular eponyms is a good idea but to memorize all the rare ones you can find would be a waste of your time. The CEN does not spend a lot of time asking about rare diseases but more about prioritizing and "real-life" ED situations. My advice is to take a practice exam and find what categories you are week on and study those.

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