Pulse Rate

Original Editor - Ayelawa Samuel Top Contributors - Ayelawa Samuel, Chelsea Mclene, Naomi O'Reilly, Lucinda hampton and Leana Louw  

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Figure. 1 Carotid Pulse (Neck)

Pulse/heart rate is the wave of blood in the artery created by contraction of the left ventricle during a cardiac cycle. The strength or amplitude of the pulse reflects the amount of blood ejected with myocardial contraction (stroke volume). Normal pulse rate range for an adult is between 60-100 beats per minute. A well-trained athlete may have a resting heart rate of 40 to 60 beats per minute, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).[1]See also heart rate

Types of Pulse[edit | edit source]

  1. Peripheral Pulse
    • an be felt at the periphery of the body by palpating an artery over a bony prominence. Examples are carotid, radial and popliteal pulses
  2. Apical Pulse
    • Central pulse located on the apex of the heart that is monitored using a stethoscope.[2]

Factors that Influence Heart Rate[edit | edit source]

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Emotions/stress
  • Exercise
  • Medication[2]

Parameters of Pulses[edit | edit source]

  1. Rate: Number of Beats per Minute
  2. Rhythm: Time Interval between Beats[2][3]

Normative Ranges[edit | edit source]

Table.1 Normal Pulse Rate Range by Age
Age Pulse Rate (Beats per Minute)
Newborn 100-180
Infant 80-150
Child 2-6 years 75-120
Child 6-12 years 70-110
Adolescent-Adult 60-90

How to Check Pulse[edit | edit source]

Figure.2 Pulse, wrist

Measurement of the pulse is typicall take at either ecarotid arteTo measure pulse rate. Place your index and third fingers on your neck to the side of the trachea, never press on the pulses on both sides of the lower neck at the same time to prevent blocking blood flow to the brain. To check your pulse at your wrist, place two fingers between the bone and the tendon over your radial artery (which is located on the thumb side of your wrist)

When taking your pulse:

  • Using the first and second fingertips, press firmly but gently on the arteries until you feel a pulse.
  • When you feel pulse, count the number of beats in 15 seconds. Multiply this number by four to calculate beats per minute.
  • When counting, do not watch the clock continuously, but concentrate on the beats of the pulse.
  • If unsure about your results, ask another person to count for you

Physiotherapy Management[edit | edit source]

Pulse Wave

The role of the rehabilitation professional is to monitor heart rate during any physical activity or exercise to ensure a safe activity level. The pulse rate should be considered when determining what level of intensity activity is appropriate for the patient and can be used to guide tretament by setting heart rate zones that are safe (light vs moderate vs heavy exercise intensity zone).[4][5]

See also Physical Activity and Exercise PrescriptiAn

Further Reading[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Live Science. What is normal heart rate? Available from: https://www.livescience.com/42081-normal-heart-rate.html (accessed 03/02/2020).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Susan B, Thomas J, George D. Physical Rehabilitation Sixth edition. USA: F.A. Davis 2014.
  3. Mangrum JM, DiMarco JP. The evaluation and management of bradycardia. New England Journal of Medicine. 2000 Mar 9;342(10):703-9.
  4. ATI Physical Therapy. Target Heart Rate and Exercise Available from: https://www.atipt.com/news/target-heart-rate-and-exercise (accessed 03/02/2020).
  5. Ekblom B, Kilbom Å, Soltysiak J. Physical training, bradycardia, and autonomic nervous system. Scandinavian journal of clinical and laboratory investigation. 1973 Jan 1;32(3):251-6.