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Fundamentals Of Nursing (NUR 101) Pulse Assessment - Information Sheet

John Marsh
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Pulse Assessment – Information Sheet

Suffolk County Community College

Fundamentals Of Nursing (NUR 101)

Pulse Assessment

To safely and effectively measure a patient’s pulse at various anatomical locations
Pulse assessment is part of a thorough patient assessment and occurs in the primary
survey. It is also used for reassessment as part of a secondary survey or overall
clinical assessment of a patient.
Pulse checks are an integral part of the patient assessment. They often occur in either
the primary and/or secondary assessment of a patient. It is essential that they are
evaluated early in the patient assessment and then regularly reassessed. As part of
the pulse assessment, not only are we confirming if a pulse is present or absent, we
are also assessing for regularity, strength, rate and sometimes the correlation with a
heart monitor/rhythm.
There are many sites within the human body that a pulse can be accurately
measured. Most often a paramedic will use the carotid, brachial, radial, femoral and
pedal sites for pulse assessments. This is because these are sites that can easily be
located. The pulse should be strongest the more central it is on the patient’s body, e.g.
a carotid pulse will be stronger than a pedal pulse. If you cannot feel a peripheral
pulse, work your way more central. If you gain a carotid pulse post cardiac arrest,
ensure you palpate pulses more peripherally so you can gauge the cardiac output
more accurately.



Fundamentals Of Nursing (NUR 101) Pulse Assessment - Information Sheet

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