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Measuring Pulse Rate
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The arterial pulse
The arterial pulse is a measurement of the heart’s contraction rate because a pulse wave is created when the left ventricle contracts. The arteries expand in response to this contraction and increase in volume. Once expanded, the arteries will contract forcing blood to circulate to the capillaries and then to the veins. The arterial pulse is evaluated for the contour of the pulse wave and its volume, rate, and rhythm. The carotid pulse is the most accurate reflection of central aortic pulse.

The arterial pulse rate can be palpated in any of the body’s accessible sites as pictured to the right, and as specifically described on page 3 of this module section.

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Section: Measuring Pulse Rate
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