apical pulse

  1. 2
    hi, i am a first semester nursing student and i am trying to do my first assignment. it asks us to define apical pulse, but i can't fine a definition any where and i don't know what it is. can any one help? thanks!
    delraul and

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  2. 13 Comments...

  3. 2
    Okay remember it this way...apical means the APEX or the top...if you are dealing with the heart...you don't want second best when you think apex..you want the heart itself! So listen with a steth for 1 minute...I will do more if I hear anything unsusual...but that my friend simply takes practice so can't help you there.

    Ask your instructors if they know of any websites or media where you can hear different heart sounds, and in clinicals keep on asking to hear different types (older folks with CHF can give you some interesting heart sounds to learn from!). ALSO listen to a heart with a pacemaker or auto defib...they can have a distinct sound that will sound very odd if you don't know...also looks cool on EKG~! I found I had to take the initiative to hear them for myself by asking...so go for it
    mschris and eternalsunshine like this.
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    The apical pulse is the pulse heard at the apex of the heart (which is the pointed lower extremity of the heart) Yoou can hear the apical pulse by placing your stethescope at the 5th intercostal space (spaces between the ribs) on the left side just left of the sternum. Hope this helps
    mschris likes this.
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    Try these,, might help
    http://www.familypractice.com/heartlab/heartlab.htm
    http://www.wilkes.med.ucla.edu/inex.htm

    If i remember right we learned the Apex was just under the left breast, so it would be the bottom or point of the hear.
    Last edit by meownsmile on Jan 11, '05
    mschris likes this.
  6. 0
    and the location of the apical pulse should be at or medial to the midclavicular line.
  7. 0
    Quote from flstdntnrs05
    The apical pulse is the pulse heard at the apex of the heart (which is the pointed lower extremity of the heart) Yoou can hear the apical pulse by placing your stethescope at the 5th intercostal space (spaces between the ribs) on the left side just left of the sternum. Hope this helps
    Just an addition, finding this with larger breasted men or women can be an intesting endevor...you will learn how to by doing it !

    OR doing it in a crowded noisy place...or when a patient won't be quiet...or when you have lots of wheezes or rales...or a screaming child..or if you are interested in ambulance ride alongs any time soon...LOL, "what does the apical heart sound like?" "oh...a diesel engine!"...LOL! Don't worry...you will get it...I practiced on myself and my loved ones...boy did that help! (I have PAC or Pre Atrial Contractions..short of it...my heart skips and beats to its own wierd rhythm when stressed...boy I was the MOST popular heart sound gal in school..LOL "hey Triage..can I hear your PAC's?" LOL!!!!!!).
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    apical means the APEX or the top
    Actually, apex means "tip" so the apex of the heart points downward.

    http://www.phschool.com/science/biol...1/anatomy.html

    The apical pulse is also known as the PMI--Point of Maximal Impulse. Put your stethoscope under the left breast to hear it. All it means is "that part of the heart where the beat is the loudest."

    http://user.gru.net/clawrence/vccl/chpt4/EXM05.gif
    netglow likes this.
  9. 0
    Quote from vmt
    hi, i am a first semester nursing student and i am trying to do my first assignment. it asks us to define apical pulse, but i can't fine a definition any where and i don't know what it is. can any one help? thanks!
    I am a second semester nursing student. Get yourself a GOOD medical terminology dictionary and use it. If I am reading/studying and don't understand a word I will look it up immediately.
  10. 0
    thanks for all of you help!
  11. 0
    I was always told to take an apical pulse if the radial was less than 60. Remember counting ribs down the sternum, now I just go there. Pacemakers were an ear opener, my fav. Tick Tock, just like a TIMEX...


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