Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2005 Mar;6(2):212-5.

Heartbeat assessment in infants: a comparison of four clinical methods.

Author information

1
Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, IRCCS Istituto per l'Infanzia Burlo Garofolo, Trieste, Italy.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To compare the performance of four clinical methods (apex ear auscultation; brachial, carotid, and femoral pulse palpation) for detecting and counting heart beat in infants.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional, repeated-measures study design. Prospective data collection.

SETTING:

A postanesthesia care unit of a pediatric teaching hospital in Italy.

PATIENTS:

Fifty-six normotensive sedated infants, aged 1-12 mos, were evaluated by 14 pediatric basic life support (PBLS)-qualified health professionals.

INTERVENTIONS:

None.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS:

The proportion of successful heartbeat detections ranged from 60% with carotid pulse palpation to 98% with apex auscultation. Among successful detections, apex auscultation proved to be the most rapid way to detect heart rate (median, 4 secs) and the most accurate with a median discrepancy of 8 beats/min (vs. 12 with the other methods) from the electrocardiographic results. Differences between apex auscultation and pulse palpation were statistically significant (p < .0001). In contrast, no significant differences were found among the three methods of pulse checking.

CONCLUSIONS:

Apex listening is the most successful, rapid, and accurate method to detect and count the heartbeat by PBLS-certified professionals in normotensive infants without instruments. Pulse checking remains important for assessing the effectiveness of circulation. Palpating the brachial, carotid, or femoral pulse is equally effective.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wolters Kluwer
Loading ...
Support Center