It is the pulse wave of blood that originated in the contraction of the ventricle of the heart and resulting in the expansion and contraction regulate the caliber of the arteries.
The pulse wave represents the return of heartbeat, which is the amount of blood entering the arteries with each ventricular contraction and the adaptation of the arteries, ie, its ability to contract and dilate. It also provides information on the functioning of the aortic valve. The peripheral pulse is readily palpable in feet, hands, face and neck. It really can be felt in any area where a surface artery can be easily compressed against a bony surface. The pulse rate (beats per minute) corresponds to heart rate, which varies with age, sex, physical activity, emotional status, fever, drugs and bleeding.
Age: the pulse undergoes variation from the moment of birth to maturity and old age.
Sex: after puberty the pulse is slower in men than in women.
Physical exercise: pulse rate increases with physical activity. In athletes at rest is often diminished (bradycardia) due to the large size and strength of the heart. Athletes usually maintained a state of bradycardia.
Fever increases the pulse by peripheral vasodilation secondary to the rise of temperature.
Medication: Medication can affect the pulse rise and some others it decreases.
Bleeding: blood loss of 500 ml increases the pulse. Tachycardia is a sign of acute anemia.
Emotional state: emotions like fear, anxiety and pain can stimulate the sympathetic system to increase cardiac activity.
There are eight anatomical landmarks for palpation of the pulse.
Temporal pulse-temporal artery is palpated on the temporal bone on the outside of the front, in a journey from the eyebrow to the scalp.
Carotid pulse: located on the side of the neck between the trachea and the sternocleidomastoid. Do not apply excessive because it causes decreased heart rate and hypo-tension. Nor, should be palpated simultaneously on both sides to prevent a reduction in cerebral blood flow or even cardiac arrest.
Brachial pulse: it feels on the inside of biceps or in the middle of the space to ulnar.
Radial pulse: is palpable by gentle pressure on the radial artery in the middle of the inside of the wrist. It is the most widely used clinical method.
Femoral pulse: palpate the femoral artery located below the inguinal ligament.
Pulse knee: palpable by strong pressure on the popliteal artery behind the knee in the popliteal fossa.
Posterior tibial pulse: tibial artery is palpated located behind the medial malleolus.
Pedal pulses: palpate the dorsalis pedis artery on the bones of the upper back of the feet.