Apical Pulse

by Cathy Parkes November 01, 2019

LevelUpRN Apical Pulse Tip of the Day Apical pulse is taken at the fifth intercostal space at the left midclavicular line.

Regular vs Irregular Apical Pulse

For a regular pulse, count for 30 seconds and multiple by 2. For irregular pulse (or if the patient is taking cardiac meds), count for a full minute. 

What is Apical Pulse?

An apical pulse is located in the left-center of one's chest just below the fifth intercostal space at the left midclavicular line, corresponding to the lower end of the heart. It is known as one of the eight common arterial pulse sites.


Additional FAQs About Apical Pulse

What Equipment is Needed to Take an Apical Pulse?

An apical pulse is measured using a stethoscope. You will also need a wristwatch or clock with seconds.

Why is an Apical Pulse Taken?

The measurements of this pulse help provide useful information about a patient’s cardiac health. This method is preferred because it is non-invasive and a very reliable way to evaluate one's cardiovascular system.

When Should an Apical Pulse be Taken?

Apical pulse is typically taken during a cardiac exam. This method is very popular for use on children when it comes to measuring their cardiac output. It is important when measuring the apical pulse of children and infants to measure for a full minute to ensure accuracy and avoid the possible presence of sinus arrhythmia.

If you have any additional questions that we can answer for you about Apical Pulse, please let us know!

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