Sites where pulses can easily be palpated (felt)
(name of artery – location)
- Radial – wrist (most common area for taking a pulse)
- Brachial – inner elbow (most common area for taking a blood pressure reading)
- Temporal – temple
- Facial – the cheek just above the jaw near the mouth
- Carotid – on the neck below the jaw
- Femoral – groin
- Popliteal – behind the knee
- Posterior tibial – just behind the ankle bone
- Dorsalis pedis – top of the foot toward the ankle
Factors affecting heart rate:
- Size: the larger the size, the slower the rate. For example, a grizzly bear has a heart rate of about 30 beats a minute while a hummingbird’s is about 200 beats per minute.
- Gender: a woman’s heart rate is generally faster than a man’s.
- Age: generally the younger a person is, the faster the heart rate. An infant’s heart rate is about 120 beats per minute; a child’s is around 100; an adult’s is between 70 and 80; an elderly person generally hovers in the 60s.
- Exercise: temporarily increases the heart rate.
- Stimulation of the autonomic nerves.
- Hormones: influence heart rate, especially epinephrine, norepinephrine, and thyroid hormones, all of which can increase the rate.
- Pathology: certain diseases affect heart rate, causing it either to slow or to race. Either one sets the stage for further dysrhythmias.
- Medications and drugs: For example, digitalis slows the rate, while epinephrine (Adrenalin) increases it. Caffeine can also cause palpitations or extra beats.