Nursing Care Related to the
Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems
a. Each time the heart beats, the left ventricle contracts and sends blood through the arteries. The pulse is the rhythmic expansion of the arteries that results from each heartbeat. The pulse may be felt most strongly over the following areas:
b. Two other locations for palpation of the pulse are the popliteal artery at the back of the knee and the pedal pulses of the foot. Pedal pulses are located on both the lateral and medial aspects of the ankle and on the top of the foot. These pulses are often difficult to locate.
c. The physician may request that both a radial and apical pulse be taken simultaneously to see if there is a difference in rates. A significant difference is indicative of vascular disease. This difference between the apical and radial pulse is known as the pulse deficit.
d. When the pulse is being counted, the rate, rhythm, and volume (force) should be noted.
NOTE: A well-trained athlete may have a resting pulse of less than 50 bpm.
e. There are many factors that affect the pulse rate. Some are listed below.
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