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How is an apical pulse taken?

The apical pulse is located on the chest near the heart. To take an apical pulse a stethoscope and a stop-watch or a clock with a second hand are needed. To locate the apical pulsation anatomical landmarks are used. First locate the first intercostal space (the space between the first and second rib) on the left side of the chest. Count down to the fifth intercostal space (between the fifth and sixth rib). Draw a straight line from the left nipple to the fifth intercostal space to identify the area of the apical pulse. Place the diaphragm (flat part) of the stethoscope on this point and count the heart beat for 60 seconds. The heart beat consists of two distinct sounds, lub-dub. Each lub-dub counts as one heart beat.

Continue Learning about Heart and Circulatory System

Heart and Circulatory System

Heart and Circulatory System

Your circulatory system is made up of your heart and three main types of blood vessels -- arteries, veins and capillaries. Your heart is at the center of the system, acting as a pump to distribute nutrient- and oxygen-rich blood t...

hrough your body; it then takes away carbon dioxide and other waste your body doesn't need. Signs of poor circulation include cold hands and feet, numbness, dizziness, migraines, varicose veins and pain in your feet or legs. Untreated, poor circulation can lead to stroke, high blood pressure, kidney damage and other diseases. Learn more about your heart and circulatory system with expert advice from Sharecare.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.