Why Take an Apical Pulse?

Listening to the apical pulse allows medical professionals to measure cardiac function, according to ATI Nursing Education. To take an apical pulse, a doctor or a nurse has to listen directly to the heart beat, which allows them to get a more accurate assessment of the heart rate.

A stethoscope, which is a device that amplifies sound and makes it easier to hear the heartbeats, is needed in order to take the apical pulse. The best location to hear the apical pulse is at the apex of the heart, which can be found by placing the stethoscope on the fifth intercostal space for an adult or on the fourth intercostal space for a child, as noted by Brookside Associates.