QS Study

Clinical Importance of Normal Pulse

Pulse is a wave produced by rhythmic expansion and elongation of the arterial wall due to pressure changes during ventricular systole and diastole. It is widely familiar as a measure of the heartbeat. Normal heart rate varies from person to person.

Normal rate: 60-90/minute. A healthy pulse is between 60 and 100 beats per minute (bpm).

Average: 72/minute.

Normal pulse – While examining the pulse, the observer should note its intensity, rate, rhythm, and if any blood vessel tenderness, tortuosity, or nodularity exists.

  • Primary Wave
  • Predicrotic wave
  • Dicrotic wave
  • Dicrotic notch
  • Post dicrotic wave

The normal pulse is called catacrotic pulse.

Significance of pulse

Large primary wave indicates –

  • A large stroke volume
  • Slow heart rate
  • Low peripheral resistance.

A small wave indicates –

  • Small cardiac output
  • Rapid heart rate
  • High peripheral resistance
  • High Blood pressure
  • Stiffness vessel wall.

Examination of a pulse is of great importance. From pulse, we can understand the condition of heart arteries, extent of BP etc.

For Example –

  • Alternative low and high volume pulse – Acute left ventricular failure.
  • Slow rising pulse – Aortic stenosis
  • Paradoxical pulse – Bronchial asthma, Pericardial effusion
  • Water-hammer pulse – Syphilis, Aortic regurgitation, PDA.
  • Pulses bisferiens – AS with AR.