The rhythmic dilation of an artery resulting from beating of the heart. It is often measured by feeling the arteries of the wrist.
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Rhythmic dilation of an artery, produced by the increased volume of blood thrown into the vessel by the contraction of the heart. A p. may also at times occur in a vein or a vascular organ, such as the liver. SYN: pulsus. [L. pulsus]
- abdominal p. the soft, compressible aortic p. occurring in certain abdominal disorders. SYN: pulsus abdominalis.
- alternating p. mechanical alternation; a p. regular in time but with alternate beats stronger and weaker, often detectable only with the sphygmomanometer or other pressure measurement and usually indicating serious myocardial disease. SYN: pulsus alternans.
- anacrotic p., anadicrotic p. a p. wave showing one or more notches or indentations on its rising limb that are sometimes detectable by palpation. SYN: pulsus anadicrotus.
- bigeminal p. a p. in which the beats occur in pairs. SYN: bigemina, coupled p., pulsus bigeminus.
- bisferious p. (bis-fer′e-us) an arterial p. with peaks that may be palpable. SYN: pulsus bisferiens.
- bulbar p. a jugular p. supposed to indicate tricuspid insufficiency.
- cannonball p. SYN: water-hammer p..
- capillary p. the alternate rhythmic blanching and reddening of a capillary area, as seen under the nails or in the lip, upon gentle compression; a sign of arteriolar dilation, well seen in aortic insufficiency. SEE ALSO: Quincke p..
- carotid p. the p. of the carotid arteries in the neck.
- catacrotic p. a p. in which there is an upward notch interrupting the descending limb of the sphygmogram. SYN: pulsus catacrotus.
- catadicrotic p. a catacrotic p. in which there are two interrupting upward notches. SYN: pulsus catadicrotus.
- collapsing p. SYN: water-hammer p..
- cordy p. SYN: tense p..
- Corrigan p. SYN: Corrigan sign.
- coupled p. SYN: bigeminal p..
- dicrotic p. a p. that is marked by a double beat, the second, due to a palpable dicrotic wave, being weaker than the first. SYN: pulsus duplex.
- entoptic p. an intermittent phose synchronous with the p..
- filiform p. a thready p..
- gaseous p. a soft, full, but feeble p..
- guttural p. a pulsation felt in the throat.
- hard p. a p. that strikes forcibly against the tip of the finger and is with difficulty compressed, suggesting hypertension. SYN: pulsus durus.
- intermittent p. irregularity of the heart due to extrasystoles that are too weak to open the semilunar valves; often owing to the long pause following the premature beat, extra long pauses equal to two regular cycles occur from time to time between p. beats. SYN: pulsus intercidens.
- irregular p. variation in rate of impulses in an artery due to cardiac arrhythmia.
- jugular p. the venous p. as observed in the jugular veins of the neck, usually the deep jugular veins.
- labile p. frequent changes in p. rate.
- long p. a p. in which the impact is felt longer than usual. SYN: sustained p..
- monocrotic p. a p. without any perceptible dicrotism. SYN: pulsus monocrotus.
- mousetail p. SYN: pulsus myurus.
- movable p. the lateral movement of a strongly pulsating tortuous artery.
- nail p. a capillary p. seen through the nail.
- paradoxic p. an exaggeration of the normal variation in the systemic arterial p. volume with respiration, becoming weaker with inspiration and stronger with expiration; characteristic of cardiac tamponade, rare in constrictive pericarditis; so called because these changes are independent of changes in the cardiac rate as measured directly or by electrocardiogram. SYN: pulsus paradoxus, pulsus respiratione intermittens.
- piston p. SYN: water-hammer p..
- plateau p. a slow, sustained p..
- quadrigeminal p. a p. in which the beats are grouped in fours, a pause following every fourth beat. SYN: pulsus quadrigeminus.
- Quincke p. the capillary p. as appreciated in the finger nails and toenails during aortic regurgitation; ebb and flow is seen. SYN: Quincke sign.
- radial p. the p. as appreciated at the radial artery usually in the wrist.
- radiofrequency p. in nuclear magnetic resonance, a short electromagnetic signal used to change the direction of the magnetic field. See sequence p..
- respiratory p. waxing and waning of any pulsation produced by respiration.
- reversed paradoxical p. a p. in which the amplitude increases with inspiration and decreases with expiration, as observed in some cases of tricuspid insufficiency and of AV dissociation with sinus arrhythmia. SYN: Riegel p..
- Riegel p. SYN: reversed paradoxical p..
- soft p. a p. that is readily extinguished by pressure with the finger.
- sustained p. SYN: long p..
- tense p. a hard, full p. but without very wide excursions, resembling the vibration of a thick cord. SYN: cordy p..
- thready p. a small fine p., feeling like a small cord or thread under the finger. SYN: pulsus filiformis.
- trigeminal p. a p. in which the beats occur in trios, a pause following every third beat. SYN: pulsus trigeminus.
- triphammer p. SYN: water-hammer p..
- undulating p. a toneless p. in which there is a succession of waves without character or force. SYN: pulsus fluens.
- unequal p. differing strength of p. in the same artery between the right and left of the circulation.
- vagus p. a slow p. due to the inhibitory action of the vagus nerve on the heart.
- venous p. a pulsation occurring in the veins, especially the internal jugular vein. SYN: pulsus venosus.
- vermicular p. a small rapid p., giving a wormlike sensation to the finger.
- water-hammer p. a p. with forcible impulse but immediate collapse, characteristic of aortic incompetency. SEE ALSO: Corrigan sign. SYN: cannonball p., collapsing p., piston p., pulsus celerrimus, triphammer p..
- wiry p. a small, fine, incompressible p..

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pulse 'pəls n
1 a) a regularly recurrent wave of distension in arteries that results from the progress through an artery of blood injected into the arterial system at each contraction of the ventricles of the heart
b) the palpable beat resulting from such pulse as detected in a superficial artery (as the radial artery) <a very soft \pulse> also the number of such beats in a specified period of time (as one minute) <a resting \pulse of 70>
3 a) a transient variation of a quantity (as electric current or voltage) whose value is normally constant often used of current variations produced artificially and repeated either with a regular period or according to some code
b) an electromagnetic wave or modulation thereof having brief duration
c) a brief disturbance transmitted through a medium
4) a dose of a substance esp. when applied over a short period of time <therapy with \pulses of intravenous methylprednisolone>
pulse vb, pulsed; puls·ing vi to exhibit a pulse or pulsation vt
1) to cause to pulsate
2 a) to produce or modulate (as electromagnetic waves) in the form of pulses <pulsed waves>
b) to cause (an apparatus) to produce pulses

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a series of pressure waves within an artery caused by contractions of the left ventricle and corresponding with the heart rate (the number of times the heart beats per minute). It is easily detected on such superficial arteries as the radial artery near the wrist and the carotid artery in the neck. The average adult pulse rate at rest is 60-80 per minute, but exercise, injury, illness, and emotion may produce much faster rates.

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(puls) [L. pulsus stroke] 1. the rhythmic expansion of an artery, palpable with the finger. See also pulse rate, under rate, and beat. 2. any rhythmic expansion, such as a venous pulse. 3. a brief surge, as of current or voltage.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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