Examination of peripheral arteries – Brachial artery

Definition:

 The clinical use of palpation to obtain a qualitative reading of an individual’s pulse at the brachial artery.

 Test procedure:

With your patient seated or lying inclined at roughly forty-five degrees, the practitioner locates the patient’s brachial artery which can be palpated using finger-tips, just proximal to the cubital fossa, lateral to the medial epicondyle and medial to the emerging biceps brachii tendon and it’s fanning aponeurosis.

Test findings: Positive & negative

The rate, rhythm and quality of the pulsations of the brachial artery are appreciated. A normal resting pulse rate for an untrained adult is between sixty and one hundred beats per minute, with that of a well-trained adult between fourty and sixty beats per minute.

A good guide for knowing how many pulsations is normal, is for there to be approximately four pulsations for every breath taken.

The practitioner should be looking for any signs of pathological pulses.

 

Special considerations:

The brachial artery bifurcates at the level of the cubital fossa or just distal to it. Therefor to assure that the brachial artery is indeed being palpated and not one of its branches, ensure that your finger-tips are located just proximal to this fossa.