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Cardio Exam
 
 

Lower Limb Pulses

 
 
 
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Overview

Strong femoral, popliteal, posterior tibial and dorsalis pulses are reassuring, while weak or absent lower limb pulses represent vascular compromise that may be limb-threatening if acute.
  • Pulses in the Lower Limb

  • Femoral - palpate within the inguinal region, halfway between the pubic symphysis and iliac crest.
  • Popliteal - bend the patient's knee to 90 degrees, gently grasp both sides of the knee joint and palpate using tips of fingers within the popliteal fossa posteriorly.
  • Posterior tibial - palpate posteriorly and inferiorly to the medial malleolus.
  • Dorsalis pedis - palpate lateral to the extensor tendon of the great toe. This can be identified by asking the patient to extend their great toe.
  • Causes of Absent Lower Limb Pulses

  • Vascular trauma
  • Compartment syndrome
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Shock
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