Figure 7.11. Location of the arteries that are routinely examined.

Figure 7.11Location of the arteries that are routinely examined

The temporalis artery is located in front of the ear where it is very superficial and readily palpated. Pulses in the upper extremities can be identified at the brachial artery, just medial to the biceps muscle above the elbow, and the radial artery, along the radial-volar aspect of the forearm at the wrist. Pulses in the lower extremities can be identified in the following locations: the femoral artery, below the inguinal ligament; the popliteal artery behind the knee; the dorsalis pedis artery on the dorsum, near the center of the long axis of the foot; and the posterior tibial artery just behind the medial malleolus. The examination of the femoral pulse may be facilitated by the use of two hands, one on top of the other, especially in obese patients. It is important to concentrate on the palpatory sensation in simultaneous comparison of bilateral vessels. The radial and femoral arteries must also be palpated simultaneously to exclude coarctation of the aorta.
The abdominal aorta is a retroperitoneal structure and should be examined with the abdominal muscles completely relaxed by flexion of the hips. Palpate the abdominal aortic pulse by applying firm pressure with the flattened fingers of both hands, one on top of the other, to indent the epigastrium toward the vertebral column. Care should be used in patients with suspected aneurysms.

From: Chapter 7, An Overview of the Cardiovascular System

Cover of Clinical Methods
Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations. 3rd edition.
Walker HK, Hall WD, Hurst JW, editors.
Boston: Butterworths; 1990.
Copyright © 1990, Butterworth Publishers, a division of Reed Publishing.

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