The POCUS Pulse Check: A Case Series on a Novel Method for Determining the Presence of a Pulse Using Point-of-Care Ultrasound Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: During cardiopulmonary resuscitation, pulse checks must be rapid and accurate. Despite the importance placed on the detection of a pulse, several studies have shown that health care providers have poor accuracy for detection of central pulses by palpation. To date, the use of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) in cardiac arrest has focused on the presence of cardiac standstill and diagnosing reversible causes of the arrest. OBJECTIVE: This case series highlights a simple, novel approach to determine whether pulses are present or absent by using POCUS compression of the central arteries. DISCUSSION: Using this technique, we found that a POCUS pulse check can be consistently performed in < 5 s and is clearly determinate, even when palpation yields indeterminate results. CONCLUSIONS: In this case series, the POCUS pulse check was a valuable adjunct that helped to change management for critically ill patients. Future prospective studies are required to determine the accuracy of this technique and the impact on patient outcomes in a larger cohort.


  • Simard, Robert D
  • Unger, Andrea
  • Betz, Martin
  • Wu, Adrian
  • Chenkin, Jordan

publication date

  • June 2019