Pulses of the Human Body
What is a pulse? Pulse and heart rate are the same. The pulse may be palpated in any place that allows an artery to be compressed against a bone, such as the neck (carotid artery), on the inside of the elbow (brachial artery), at the wrist (radial artery), at the groin (femoral artery), behind the knee (popliteal artery), near the ankle joint (posterior tibial artery), and on the foot (dorsalis pedis artery). The study of the pulse is know as sphygmology.
The radial pulse is commonly measured using three fingers. Why three fingers? The finger closest to the heart is used to occlude the pulse pressure, the middle finger is used to get a crude estimate of the blood pressure, and the finger most distal to the heart (usually the ring finger) is used to nullify the effect of the ulnar pulse as the two arteries are connected via the palmar arches (superficial and deep).
What is deep palmar arch? The deep palmar arch is an arterial network found in the hand. It is usually formed mainly form the terminal part of the radial artery, with the ulnar artery contributing via its deep palmar branch by anastomosis (which is a connection or opening between 2 things that are normally diverging or branching, such as between blood vessels, leaf veins or streams).
What is superficial palmar arch? The superficial palmar arch is more distally located than the deep palmar arch. If one were to fully extend the thumb and draw a line from the distal border of the thumb across the palm, this would be the level of the superficial palmar arch. The deep palmar arch is about a finger width proximal to this. The connection between the deep and superficial palmar arterial arches is an example of anastomosis, and can be tested for using the Allen test.
Normal Resting Pulses:
- First month of life — 70 – 190 beats per minute
- Between 1 and 11 months — 80 – 160 beats per minute
- 1 and 2 year olds — 80 – 130 beats per minute
- 3 and 4 year olds — 80 – 120 beats per minute
- 5 and 6 year olds — 75 – 115 beats per minute
- Between 7 and 9 years — 70 – 110 beats per minute
- For children 10 years and older, including adults along with seniors — 60 – 100 beats per minute
We hope that you have a GREAT week and thank you for reading our blog!