MedSchool: Ace Your OSCEsThe Medical Company
GET - On the App Store
Deteriorating Patient

Pulse Rhythm



  • Palpate the radial pulse for at least thirty seconds and determine whether the beats fall in time or are irregular.
    • Interpretation

    • Regular: sinus rhythm
    • Sinus arrhythmia: rhythmic variations in vagal tone with respiration
    • Regularly irregular (regular heart rate with occasional missed or extra beats): sinus arrhythmia, second degree heart block, premature ventricular contractions
    • Irregularly irregular: atrial fibrillation
    • Causes of Irregular Pulse

    • Sinus arrhythmia
    • Sinus arrest
    • Second or third degree sinoatrial exit block
    • Atrial fibrillation
    • Atrial flutter with variable block
    • Multifocal atrial tachycardia
    • Second or third degree atrioventricular block
    • Premature ventricular contractions
Want more info like this?
  • Your electronic clinical medicine handbook
  • Guides to help pass your exams
  • Tools every medical student needs
  • Quick diagrams to have the answers, fast
  • Quizzes to test your knowledge
Sign Up Now