Hard Time Finding Brachial Artery

  1. 2 Hello all!

    I started my CNA class mid-May and we're just now starting to learn how to take BPs.

    What I've been having the most trouble with is finding the brachial pulse. If I'm lucky I can find it (it's usually very faint), but most of the time I can't feel anything. I'm using two fingers and I've tried varying levels of pressure--thinking that I was pressing too hard, or not hard enough---but I can't find any reason why I can't consistently find it.

    Any tips? Anyone willing to tell me, step-by-step what they (personally) do to find the brachial pulse? My textbook (Mosby's) and teacher haven't been much help.
    Last edit by zooz on Jun 16, '07
  2. Visit  zooz profile page

    About zooz

    From 'In my head.'; 27 Years Old; Joined Oct '06; Posts: 2,512; Likes: 243.

    25 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  Twix profile page
    0
    put your fingers (index and middle ) on the tip of you thumb and trace down until you reach the base of your thumb to your wrist .
  4. Visit  zooz profile page
    6
    Quote from Twix
    put your fingers (index and middle ) on the tip of you thumb and trace down until you reach the base of your thumb to your wrist .
    Wouldn't that be the radial pulse? I need to know how to find the brachial pulse (by the elbow).
    SeattleJess, luckycharmSVN, Jelliet, and 3 others like this.
  5. Visit  morte profile page
    0
    Quote from zooz
    Wouldn't that be the radial pulse? I need to know how to find the brachial pulse (by the elbow).
    yup, that is the radial, ....make sure the arm is fully extended...prop the arm to maintain that position...start at the medial side of the elbow (closest to the body) and work across.....if that doesnt do it, try a little lower and try again...good luck
  6. Visit  Twix profile page
    0
    ooops sorry, lack of sleep...hehe...i read radial...
  7. Visit  casi profile page
    2
    Odd thing I learned in A&P.
    Follow the bicep down to where it turns into tendon about an inch or so above the crook of your arm, palpate the medial side you may have to kind of push the muscle over to find it.

    In people who have extra fluff you may have to dig around a little to find the artery. Its buried in there.
    lepanto and Serendipity, PCT like this.
  8. Visit  Megsd profile page
    1
    Quote from casi
    Odd thing I learned in A&P.
    Follow the bicep down to where it turns into tendon about an inch or so above the crook of your arm, palpate the medial side you may have to kind of push the muscle over to find it.

    In people who have extra fluff you may have to dig around a little to find the artery. Its buried in there.
    Good suggestion! I just found it on myself that way. Found it about an inch above my elbow and then kind of traced it down to the crook, where I'd put the steth.
    SeattleJess likes this.
  9. Visit  zooz profile page
    1
    Thanks for the help, everyone. Making sure that the arm is fully extended has helped a lot. I'm still having some trouble finding the brachial pulse every time, but it seems to be getting easier.

    Thanks again. If anyone has any other tips on finding this sneaky pulse, let me know.
    SeattleJess likes this.
  10. Visit  zooz profile page
    2
    Carolyn (ginger58) was kind enough to send me this PM and I thought I would share it because it clarifies everything nicely:

    Quote from ginger58
    To be sure you understand medial, you need to know that anatomic position is with the palms forward and medial is toward the center. So you're looking for this devious pulse on the side of the 5th finger.
    Take your right index and third fingers and at or slightly below the crease at your left elbow roll your fingers over the bone and it should be there. Try pressing with less pressure. It also helps to roll the fingers over the bone and then flatten them out instead of trying with the finger tips.
    Hope this helps. It's tricky. Carolyn
    Last edit by zooz on Jun 21, '07
    gatormommy and Gator Girl 2000 like this.
  11. Visit  Jaynty profile page
    6
    i find the easiest way to find the brachial pulse is if i draw a straight line from my litle finger up to my elbow crease. i end right on top of it.
  12. Visit  Girl Scout profile page
    6
    All this time I was having a horrible time finding the brachial on anybody, then suddenly today my instructor whips out this little gem:

    extend your arm (resting)
    with the opposite hand, place the index finger squarely in the middle/center of the crease
    now add the next two fingers.
    now lift your index finger.
    it may take a moment, but you should feel your brachial.

    It's hard to explain it, though. Here's a really, really bad drawing I did in MS Paint.

    http://img189.imageshack.us/img189/8...chialpulse.jpg

  13. Visit  fuzzywuzzy profile page
    4
    I remember learning in class that we had to find the pulse so we could put the stethoscope right on top of it, but in practice I put the steth wherever it LOOKS like it should go, and I never have trouble hearing.
    SeattleJess, luckycharmSVN, Jelliet, and 1 other like this.
  14. Visit  Girl Scout profile page
    1
    Yeah, I'm like you, I know where it is, but they make us do this extra step to learn, where you have to palpate it, find where it stops beating on the manometer, THEN stick the steth on it, go 30 over, and do the bp.

    Seems hard/frustrating now, but with the little trick above ^^ it's gotten a lot easier. I'm sure in a year I'll laugh at myself for thinking it was ever so hard.
    SeattleJess likes this.


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and find your dream job.

Top
close
close