EMS Tips

Top Tips: Pulse Check #VitalSigns

1. Start with gentle palpation

2. Locate the radial pulse by first finding the distal end of the radius

3. Use two or three fingers lightly applied to the patient’s wrist

4. Slightly extend the patient’s wrist to bring the radial artery closer to the skin

5. Count for at least 30 seconds

6. Let the patient’s arm rest on their leg, belly, arm of a chair, or cradle it with your other hand

7. Mark the location if you had difficulty finding the pulse initially

What are your top tips for finding and counting a patient’s heart rate?

By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.