Pulse

Heart rate; Heart beat

The pulse is the number of heartbeats per minute.

Taking your carotid pulse

The carotid arteries take oxygenated blood from the heart to the brain. The pulse from the carotids may be felt on either side of thefront of the neck just below the angle of the jaw. This rhythmic beat is caused by varying volumes of blood being pushed out of the heart toward the extremities.

Radial pulse

Arteries carry oxygenated blood away from the heart to the tissues of the body. Veins carry blood depleted of oxygen from the same tissues back to the heart. The arteries are the vessels with the pulse, a rhythmic pushing of the blood in the heart followed by a refilling of the heart chamber. To determine heart rate, one counts the beats at a pulse point like the inside of the wrist for 10 seconds, and multiplies this number by 6. This is the per-minute total.

Wrist pulse

To measure the pulse at the wrist, place the index and middle finger over the underside of the opposite wrist, below the base of the thumb. Press firmly with flat fingers until you feel the pulse in the radial artery.

Neck pulse

To measure the pulse on the neck, place the index and middle finger just to the side of the Adam's apple, in the soft hollow area. This pulse is felt in the common carotid artery.

How to take your pulse

How to take your pulse. 1. Place the tips of your index and middle finger on the inside of your wrist below the base of your thumb. 2. Press lightly. You will feel the blood pulsing beneath your fingers. 3. Use a watch or clock with a second hand. Count the beats you feel for 1 minute. Or count the beats for 30 seconds and multiply by 2. This is also called your pulse rate.

How the Test is Performed

How to Prepare for the Test

How the Test will Feel

Why the Test is Performed

Normal Results

What Abnormal Results Mean