Assessing the Pulse A pulse is normally palpated by applying moderate pressure with the three middle fingers of the hand. A pulse is commonly assessed by palpation “feeling’ or auscultation “hearing”. Apical pulse; if the peripheral pulse is difficult to assess accurately because it is irregular. The apical pulse located at 5-6 intercostals rib.
When assessing the pulse the nurse collect the following data: 1. Rate, an excessively fast heart rate over 100 BPM in an adult is called Tachycardia. A heart rate in an adult of less than 60BPM is called Bradycardia. 2. Rhythm is the pattern of the beats and the intervals between the beats. A pulse with an irregular rhythm is referred to as a dysrhythmia or arrhythmia. 3. Volume is called pulse strength or amplitude, refers to the force of blood with each beat. It can range from absent to bounding. 4. Elasticity of the arterial wall reflects its expansibility or its deformities. A healthy, normal artery feels straight, smooth, soft, and pliable. Elders often have inelastic arteries that feel twisted and irregular upon palpation.