What Is the Difference Between the Apical and Radial Pulse?

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The apical pulse is assessed through a stethoscope placed over the heart, while the radial pulse is typically taken by applying finger pressure to the inner wrist and counting the number of heartbeats. They are the most-common forms of checking a pulse.

Peripheral pulse sites are arteries located away from the heart over bony surfaces. The radial pulse is an example of these sites, as it is located on the wrist, near the bone.

The apical pulse determines a pulse’s properties by listening directly to specific heart functions through a stethoscope, which helps produce an accurate result. Both techniques allow for the determination of heart rate, strength and the presence of any irregularities in the pulse.