In medicine, one's pulse represents the tactile arterial palpation of the heartbeat by trained fingertips. The pulse may be palpated in any place that allows an artery to be compressed against a bone, such as at the neck (carotid artery), at the wrist (radial artery), behind the knee (popliteal artery), on the inside of the elbow (brachial artery), and near the ankle joint (posterior tibial artery). The pulse can also be measured by listening to the heart beat directly (auscultation), traditionally using a stethoscope. The pulse is a decidedly low tech/high yield and antiquated term still useful at the bedside in an age of computational analysis of cardiac performance. Claudius Galen was perhaps the first physiologist to describe the pulse. The pulse is an expedient tactile method of determination of systolic blood pressure to a trained observer. Diastolic blood pressure is non-palpable and unobservable by tactile methods, occurring between heartbeats.
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