arterial pulse (wave forms)

Last reviewed 01/2018

The wave form felt by the finger depends on the rate of change of pressure (dP/dt) rather than the pressure wave recorded.

The normal arterial wave form has a smooth, fairly sharp upstroke, a momentarily sustained peak and a quick downstroke.

A dicrotic pulse is one in which two impulses are felt for each heartbeat. Although this dual waveform is found in the normal subject, it is only clinically apparent in pyrexic patients.

Abnormal wave forms are usually due to abnormalities of the aortic valve.