Radial Pulse: Definition, Types, Measurement Procedure and Normal Heart Rate

Medical professionals use it to determine the heart rate of a patient.

The pulse, or tangible heartbeat, is measured in beats per minute (bpm) and can indicate the general health or fitness of a patient.

The radial pulse is a peripheral pulse that results from a heartbeat as felt through the walls of the radial artery.

What is felt at the periphery ( radial artery ) is not the blood flowing through the streets but the shock wave that travels along the artery walls as the heart contracts each time it produces a rhythmic wave.

The resting heart rate is taken when a calm person sits or lies down. An adult’s average resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 bpm.

High resting heart rates can be caused by exercise, illness, certain medications, heart disease, and stress.

On the other hand, various medications and a high fitness level can cause a low resting heart rate.


The heart rate must be counted for at least fifteen seconds to measure the radial pulse. However, it can also be calculated for twenty, thirty, or sixty seconds.

If you measure a pulse for fifteen, twenty, or thirty seconds, you must multiply the number that counts by four, three, or two, respectively, to calculate your heart rate in bpm.

You do not need prior medical experience to perform this procedure, and you should be able to complete these instructions in five minutes or less.

Although the instructions guide you through measuring another person’s pulse, you can measure your pulse.

For most people, heart rate and pulse rate are the same.

However, the two are technically different: heart rate measures the rate of heart contractions, while heart rate measures the rate at which blood pressure rises throughout the body.

In individuals with specific heart conditions that prevent the heart from pumping blood efficiently with each contraction, the pulse rate may be lower than the heart rate. But that is an exception.

Types of pulses

According to the American Heart Association, the best places to take your pulse are on your wrist, inside your elbow, on the side of your neck, or the top of your foot.

You can also take a pulse at the groin, temple, or behind the knees.

The pulse felt in the neck is called the carotid pulse. It is called a femoral pulse when it is felt in the groin.

The pulse in your wrist is called a radial pulse. The pedal pulse is in the foot, and the brachial pulse is below the elbow.

The apical pulse is found at the top of the heart, as often heard through a stethoscope with the patient lying on their left side.

The heartbeat consists of two different sounds, often called a “lab-dub,” and each club-dub counts as one beat.

Another commonplace to take a pulse is the carotid artery, which is located in the neck, between the wind tube and the neck muscle.

In addition to performing an EKG, doctors find that taking the apical pulse is the most accurate and non-invasive way to assess heart health.

The apical pulse provides information on the heart’s count, rhythm, strength, and quality.

Taking your pulse

Taking a pulse is easy, especially if you do it on your wrist or neck.

Place the index and third fingers on the inside of the wrist, under the base of the thumb, and between the bone and the tendon.

This point is on the radial artery. When you feel your pulse beat, count the beats for 15 seconds. Multiply the count by four to calculate the number of beats per minute.

What is an average pulse?

Adults’ average resting heart rate ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute (bpm).

Women tend to have slightly higher heart rates than men; The average heart rate at rest in women is in the mid-70s, while in men, it is around 70.

This is mainly because the male heart muscle is more robust.

Other factors can also affect your resting heart rates, such as age, body size, fitness level, heart conditions, whether you are sitting or standing, medications, emotions, and even air temperature.

In general, people with good cardiovascular fitness, such as athletes, experience a lower resting heart rate, sometimes 40 or less.

The following are healthy pulse rate guidelines recommended by the National Institutes of Health:

  • Newborns up to 1 month of age: 70 to 190 bpm.
  • Babies 1 to 11 months of age: 80 to 160 bpm.
  • Children 1 to 2 years: 80 to 130 bpm.
  • Children 3 to 4 years: 80 to 120 bpm.
  • Children 5 to 6 years: 75 to 115 bpm.
  • Children 7 to 9 years: 70 to 110 bpm.
  • Children 10 years and older, and adults (including older adults): 60 to 100 bpm
  • Well-trained athletes: 40 to 60 bpm.