How come those pulse sensors at the YMCA can pick up your pulse almost everywhere?

  1. I remember in our health assessment class how they emphasized that their was no use in trying to get someones radial (or other) pulse if you were not feeling in the right locations. However, at the YMCA I've noticed on their newer bikes and stairclimbers that it can get my HR accurate no matter WHAT I touch the darn thing with. I was even taking my pulse with my pinky (I almost knocked myself out trying to see if it could get a pulse from my chin touching the sensors). What's up? I thought that human touch was among the most sensitive senses known to science.
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   nialloh
    Quote from Roland
    I remember in our health assessment class how they emphasized that their was no use in trying to get someones radial (or other) pulse if you were not feeling in the right locations. However, at the YMCA I've noticed on their newer bikes and stairclimbers that it can get my HR accurate no matter WHAT I touch the darn thing with. I was even taking my pulse with my pinky (I almost knocked myself out trying to see if it could get a pulse from my chin touching the sensors). What's up? I thought that human touch was among the most sensitive senses known to science.
    Human sense is not always better, but that dosn't mean I'd always trust a machine. You don't always know what it is reading. It might be movement rather then a pulse. But then again, it dosn't mean it is wrong. You have to be the judge.
  4. by   Roland
    I think its right because the number generally match what I count manually, and what it gets from the "thumb" area. To me it is just absolutely outragious that a machine can get a pulse from my pinky or my elbow (I tried my ear but that was just too hard on the stair climber), it just seems wrong somehow.
  5. by   RN4NICU
    Don't forget that your heart is working harder while you are doing contortions on the stair climber, trying to put your ear on the sensor (thanks for the visual, by the way :chuckle ) than it is when you are resting in bed.
  6. by   suzanne4
    You have arteries that run throughout your body...............so it should be able to pick up a pulse almost anywhere...........arteries run up your chin and at your elbow, too............
  7. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Yep What Suzanne said. You better HOPE you have a pulse everywhere.....how do you think tissues are oxygenated down to your big toe or your thumb????
  8. by   redwinggirlie
    you are also probably running a 7-minute mile and ALL your vessels are pulsing, unlike someone who is bedridden!
  9. by   Roland
    Quote from redwinggirlie
    you are also probably running a 7-minute mile and ALL your vessels are pulsing, unlike someone who is bedridden!
    The only way I could run a seven minute mile these days would be being chased, downhill, in a windstorm with a tailwind by rabid wolves.

    I just remember our nursing instructors stressing that you couldn't get a pulse from fingers, only the thumb (which is why you never palpate for a pulse with your thumb) obviously God and ten million years of evolution haven't matched the tactile sensing ability of a YMCA stairclimber.
    Last edit by Roland on Apr 28, '05
  10. by   suzanne4
    You can get a pulse from anywere, just some areas are stronger. You can get a pulse from up and down your arms, any place that there is a pulse.
    There are just areas where it is much easier to find them.
  11. by   Antikigirl
    Silly story, but I had to go to the ED for some 10/10 pelvic pain (wound up being adhesion tear from a c-section..OUCH!). And my hubby is a paramedic who stood by my side the whole time!

    Well...after a few HOURS, I was getting a little bit better (I took some Ibuprofen because of my long wait!...I know...shouldn't do that but dang!)...and I was getting a bit stir crazy!

    So my hubby showed me a fun trick with the EKG (we had a three lead in the room!). He hooked me up the normal way..and normal sinus rhythm. Then he told me to place on pad on my forehead...one on my big toe....and one on my butt! So I giggled and did this...same exact results! Then we tried other areas, like my elbow and my hip....my thumb..and all these times it was the same results! as long as you have a pulse...an electrode will find it! (best you use a trangulation...but it will work anywhere...handy thing to know if you are a paramedic and your patient is in a position you can't do things normally like a smashed up car and such).

    Well..this was a nice learning experience, especially when we were giggling and the nurse was standing in the doorway looking at us like we were nuts! Then we showed it to her and she was as facinated as I was! LOL! The doc just rolled his eyes when he heard and said "of course it works you dingbats!"..LOL! Then he sent me home with some ibuprofen (duh...I knew it would work! LOL! Self med and still paid for the ER visit..grrrrr!).

    I left with the electrode patch on my forehead for good measure! LOL!!!!!!!!!!
  12. by   RN4NICU
    Hmmm. Interesting point. You could be in PEA and the stairmaster would think you were fine. Hopefully the people who saw you slumped over it would call 911 though.

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