d. Temporal. The temporal pulse is taken in the temple area on either side of
the head. The temple area is located in front of the upper part of the ear. The pulse is
felt just above a large, raised bony area called the zygomatic arch.
e. Ulnar. Like the radial pulse, the ulnar pulse is taken at the wrist. The radial
pulse is taken over the artery on the thumb side of the wrist while the ulnar pulse is
taken on the other side of the wrist. Both pulses are taken on the palm side of the wrist.
The radial artery is normally preferred over the ulnar artery for taking the pulse because
the radial artery is somewhat larger.
f. Femoral. The femoral pulse is taken in the groin area by pressing the right or
left femoral artery against the ischium (the lower part of the pelvic bones located in the
front part of the body).
g. Popliteal. The popliteal pulse is taken in the middle of the area located on
the inside of the knee (the area opposite the kneecap).
h. Posterior Tibial. The posterior tibial pulse is taken at the top of the ankle or
just above the ankle on the back, inside part of the ankle.
i. Dorsalis Pedis. The dorsalis pedis pulse is taken on the top portion of the
foot just below the ankle. The pulse is taken in the middle of this area (not to the inside
j. Apical. Unlike the other sites, the apical pulse is not taken over an artery.
Instead, it is taken over the heart itself. The apical pulse (actually, the heartbeat) can
be felt over the apex of the heart (the pointed lower end of the heart.) This site is
located to the (patient's) left of the breastbone and two to three inches above the bottom
of the breastbone. The apical pulse is easily heard when a stethoscope is used.
HOW DO I TAKE A PATIENT'S PULSE?
The procedures for taking a patient's pulse are given below.
a. Gather Materials. You will need a clock or watch with a second hand, a
pencil or pen, and something to write on (form, note pad, and so forth).
b. Verify Patient's Identity. If you are ordered to take a patient's pulse, make
sure that you are taking the pulse of the proper patient. For example, check the
patient's name on your orders against the name on his hospital identification bracelet or
ask the patient his name.
If you have already established the patient's identity, this step is skipped.