There are multiple times when you need to measure and evaluate someone’s pulse, and sometimes it’s vital to know what is normal and what you should look for. There are three main places to measure someone’s pulse:
Carotid Pulse: The Carotid pulse is found by placing to fingers on either side of the windpipe on the neck. You should be able to find the Carotid artery easily as the pulse there is strong. Always use two or three fingers, never your thumb, because your thumb has a pulse of its own.
Radial Pulse: The Radial pulse is found in the wrist. You can find it by placing two fingers on the small indentation beside the tendon leading to the wrist. You will likely see your nurse take your pulse here.
Brachial Pulse: The Brachial pulse is used only in infants, where their pulse is too weak in the carotid and radial arteries. To measure the Brachial pulse, place to fingers on the inside of the infant’s upper arm.
How to Measure a Pulse:
Measure a pulse by counting each beat while watching your watch. Count the beats for one minute, the number of beats you counted is the pulse. You don’t have to start at the very beginning of a minute.
While checking a pulse, you want to check:
Rate: How many beats does the heart make per minute?
Strength: Is the pulse weak, strong, or normal?
Rhythm: Is the pulse bounding, thready, or regular?
All of this information is important in pointing out less obvious causes of illness or injury, and it’s an easy way to help out in an emergency while waiting for EMS to arrive.