Send to

Choose Destination
Resuscitation. 1998 Jun;37(3):173-5.

Competence of health professionals to check the carotid pulse.

Author information

Intensive Care Unit, San Millán Hospital, La Rioja, Spain.


Our objective was to establish the proportion of Emergency Room and Intensive Care doctors and nurses able to locate the carotid pulse in less than 5 s, and identify the variables that influence this ability. The method followed was locating the carotid pulse in a healthy male adult volunteer with normal blood pressure in two situations (stretcher or floor) and with the neck in either a neutral or in an extended position. We recorded the gender, age, and previous training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) of each participant and the time spent in detecting the pulse in each of the four possible positions. A model of logistic regression was constructed to determine if the patient's position had any influence on the proportion of health workers capable of finding the pulse within 5 s. The average age of the 72 subjects studied was 33.4 years (SD = 6.6); 80% of the participants had CPR training. Thirty-one participants (43.1%; CI 95%, 31.4-55.3%) required more than 5 s to detect the pulse, although only three (4.2%; CI 95%, 0.9-11.7%) required more than 10 s. The variable 'no CPR training' was associated with the inability to detect the pulse within 5 s. The detection of the pulse was easier with an extended neck. A significant proportion of nurses and doctors were slow to locate the carotid pulse on a healthy, young volunteer with normal blood pressure. No relation was found between gender or age of the participants. More attention should be given to carotid pulse detection in CPR training.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center