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Cardiac monitoring part 4: Monitoring the apex beat

Phil Jevon PGCE, BSc, RN, is resuscitation officer/clinical skills lead at Manor Hospital, Walsall Checking the radial pulse is an unreliable method of assessing the ventricular rate in patients with atrial fibrillation. If the ventricular rate is rapid, some contractions may not be strong enough to transmit an arterial pulse-wave through the peripheral artery, resulting in an apex-radial pulse deficit (Lip, 1993).

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