An undergraduate study which is relevant to everyday clinical practice - an example.

3 May 2022

Enhanced Pulse Palpation Technique. 



B=Back down

A simple adjunct to Pulse palpation in clinical examination.

This is a technique that allows an individual to improve quality and accuracy in palpation of any pulse, but in particular, the radial pulse.

It involves gently occluding the pulse with vertical pressure, releasing the pressure to be aware of the range of pulse amplitude and then returning to palpate the pulse at the point of maximum amplitude. This allows for a more confident and accurate palpation of the pulse.

This technique was originated by Mr John Hinchion at Cork University Hospital and developed in a study with UCC medical undergraduate students Mery Deeb and Rita Petuka.

This novel approach was validated through research at University College Cork and the University of Toronto.

The rationale for having an improved palpation technique lies in better detection of the pulse in some arrhythmias which are not evident with pulse oximetry alone. The introduction of oximetry in determining a patient’s heart rate is broadly successful, however in some instances, a pulse oximetry reading of heart rate may be inaccurate due to a low pulse amplitude and a recorded pulse alone does not confer information on rhythm . This can be  seen in atrial arrhythmias. In this setting pulse palpation is superior and recommended.

The findings of the evaluation studies in student research support the use of this simple adjunct to the standard pulse palpation.

This simple technique is also advocated as part of encouraging palpation of the pulse in general. This is aligned with initiatives by healthcare providers to encourage individuals (healthcare workers and the public) to engage in physical examination of the pulse.


The study was presented at a Grand Rounds conference at Cork University Hospital.


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