When someone experiences cardiac arrest, the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the body's vital organs is cut off, which can lead to permanent brain damage or death if left untreated. Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a lifesaving technique that can help restore the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the body's vital organs during a cardiac arrest. One critical aspect of performing CPR is knowing where to find the pulse points in the body.
In this article, we will explore the pulse points in the human body and how to locate them during CPR.
What are pulse points?
Pulse points are the areas in the body where the pulse can be felt. The pulse is a wave of blood that is created by the heart's beating action, and it travels through the arteries. Pulse points are located where arteries are close to the surface of the skin and can be easily accessed for checking the pulse.
Knowing where to find pulse points is crucial for identifying a cardiac arrest and for performing CPR. Pulse points are particularly important during CPR, as they help determine the efficacy of chest compressions and guide the rescuer in delivering effective compressions.
Types of pulse points
There are several pulse points throughout the body. The most common pulse points are:
The temporal pulse is located on the side of the head and can be felt in front of the tragus (the small, pointed cartilage of the ear) and above the zygomatic arch (the bony arch of the cheekbone).
Radial pulse point: The radial pulse point is located on the wrist, on the thumb side of the forearm. To locate the radial pulse point, place two fingers on the inside of the wrist, just below the base of the thumb.
Carotid pulse point: The carotid pulse point is located on either side of the neck, just below the jawline. To locate the carotid pulse point, place two fingers on either side of the Adam's apple.
Brachial pulse point: The brachial pulse point is located on the inside of the elbow, just above the elbow crease. To locate the brachial pulse point, place two fingers on the inside of the elbow, just above the crease.
Femoral pulse point: The femoral pulse point is located in the groin area, just below the crease between the abdomen and the leg. To locate the femoral pulse point, place two fingers on the inside of the leg, just below the crease.
Popliteal pulse point: The popliteal pulse point is located at the back of the knee, in the crease. To locate the popliteal pulse point, place two fingers in the crease at the back of the knee.
The posterior tibial artery pulse is another important pulse point in the human body. It is located on the inside of the ankle, behind the medial malleolus (bump on the inside of the ankle bone).
The pedal pulse is another important pulse point that can be used to assess the circulation of the foot and lower leg. This pulse can be felt by placing two fingers on the top of the foot, just behind the ankle.
How to check for a pulse during CPR for adult patient
In an unconscious or unresponsive adult, the preferred pulse point for checking the pulse is the carotid artery. This is located in the neck, just below the jawbone and beside the windpipe. There are several reasons why the carotid artery is the preferred pulse point for an unconscious or unresponsive patient. Firstly, it is one of the easiest pulse points to locate, even in patients who are overweight or have limited mobility. Secondly, the carotid artery is one of the largest and most accessible arteries in the body, making it a reliable indicator of blood flow to the brain.
In the context of CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), checking the carotid pulse is an important step in assessing the patient's condition and determining the need for CPR. If no pulse is detected, CPR should be started immediately to restore blood flow and prevent brain damage or death.
During CPR, chest compressions should be performed at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute, with each compression pushing down on the chest to a depth of at least 5 cm. After 30 compressions, the rescuer should pause to give 2 rescue breaths (for professional only) which are delivered by tilting the head back and lifting the chin before blowing into the patient's mouth or hands only CPR (for layperson). The rescuer should then continue with compressions and breaths in a cycle until help arrives or the patient regains consciousness.
When performing CPR, it is essential to check for a pulse to determine the effectiveness of the chest compressions. To check for a pulse, follow these steps:
Identify the pulse point that you want to check. The carotid pulse point is the most commonly used pulse point during CPR.
Place two fingers on the pulse point, applying gentle pressure.
Count the number of pulses in a 10-second period. Multiply this number by six to determine the pulse rate per minute.
If a pulse is not present, continue with chest compressions and rescue breathing.
Pulse points are critical in identifying a cardiac arrest and for performing CPR. Knowing where to locate pulse points is essential for rescuers to deliver effective chest compressions and rescue breathing.
Common pulse points include the radial pulse point, the carotid pulse point, the brachial pulse point, the femoral pulse point, and the popliteal pulse point. During CPR, checking for a carotid pulse is crucial to determine the effectiveness of chest compressions. By understanding and identifying pulse points, rescuers can improve their ability to perform lifesaving CPR during a cardiac arrest.