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Checking Pulse Rate

Learn how to find your Pulse Rate. Use two fingers on the radial or carotid artery for measuring normal heart rates while resting.


Finding Pulse; Carotid artery

  • Locate the patient’s Adam’s apple with the index and middle fingers of one hand

  • Slide the fingers down into the groove of the neck on the side closest to you

  • If you can’t find the pulse on the side closest to you, move to the opposite side

  • Never try to feel the carotid pulse on both sides at the same time

  • Count the number of beats in 30 seconds and multiply by two to determine the heartbeats per minute


Finding Pulse; Radial artery

  • Locate artery on patient’s wrist, thumb side of hand

  • Slide two or three fingers into the groove of the wrist immediately below hand on the thumb side

  • Do not use your thumb when taking a radial pulse

  • Count the number of beats in 30 seconds and multiply by two to determine the heartbeats per minute

  • Determine whether the pulse may be described as rapid, strong or weak. The average pulse rate for adults at rest is 60 to 90 beats per minute