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Arterial pulse (amplitude, large)

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

In this wave form the upstroke is abrupt and steeper than normal. The peak of the wave form is reached earlier than normal and there is a rapid downstroke. The amplitude of the wave form is abnormally wide.

  • with the patient reclining, the examiner raises the patient's arm vertically upwards. The examiner grasps the muscular part of the patient's forearm. A waterhammer pulse is felt as a tapping impulse which is transmitted through the bulk of the muscles

  • a waterhammer was a Victorian toy in which a tube was half filled with fluid, the remainder being a vacuum. The child would invert and reinvert the tube; each time the impact of the fluid at each end would sound like a hammer blow


  • Kirby B (1993). Clinical examination of the heart. Medicine International, 21(8), 294-99.

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