Weak pulse; Absent pulse
A weak pulse means you have difficulty feeling a person's pulse (heartbeat). An absent pulse means you cannot detect a pulse at all.
See also: CPR
An absent or weak pulse may affect all or one part of the body.
If a pulse cannot be detected by a non-medical professional, it doesn't always mean there is a problem. Sometimes, it can be hard for a non-medical person to detect a pulse in certain areas.
Follow the treatment your health care provider prescribes. CPR may be necessary.
Call your health care provider if there is any sudden, severe, or long-lasting decrease in the pulse quality or rate, particularly when there are also other symptoms.
Shock is a life-threatening condition. Seek immediate medical help if you think someone has gone into shock. Start CPR, if needed.
A loss of consciousness or disorientation suggests that there is not enough blood getting to the brain. Seek medical help immediately.
Your medical provider will take a medical history, do a physical exam, and ask questions such as:
Physical examination may include monitoring the vital signs (pulse, rate of breathing, blood pressure). Emergency measures will be taken as necessary. Continued monitoring may be necessary.
Diagnostic tests may include:
Fang JC, O'Gara PT. The history and physical examination: an evidence-based approach. In: Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa:Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 11.
Schriger DL. Approach to the patient with abnormal vital signs. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa:Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 7.
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