How to Check the Carotid Pulse: A Step-by-Step Guide

Checking the carotid pulse is a crucial skill in assessing a person's cardiac function and overall well-being. The carotid pulse is located in the neck and provides valuable information about the heart rate, rhythm, and perfusion of blood to the brain. Whether you are a healthcare professional, a first responder, or a concerned individual, understanding how to check the carotid pulse correctly is essential. In this blog post, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to check the carotid pulse, emphasizing the importance of accuracy and the resources provided by MyCPR NOW to enhance your knowledge and proficiency in pulse assessment.

MyCPR NOW Resources for Checking the Carotid Pulse:

MyCPR NOW offers valuable resources to help you learn and improve your skills in checking the carotid pulse. These resources include:

1. Interactive Learning Modules:
MyCPR NOW's interactive learning modules provide step-by-step instructions, visual aids, and interactive exercises to enhance your understanding and proficiency in carotid pulse assessment. These modules offer a dynamic and engaging learning experience.

2. Expert Insights:
The carotid pulse assessment resources provided by MyCPR NOW are curated by healthcare professionals and experts in the field. They ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date, and aligned with recognized guidelines and best practices.

3. Reference Materials:
MyCPR NOW offers reference materials, such as pulse assessment charts and guides, which serve as valuable references for understanding pulse locations, normal ranges, and variations in different age groups.

Step-by-Step Guide to Checking the Carotid Pulse:

Step 1: Prepare:

- Ensure a calm and comfortable environment for the person whose carotid pulse you are assessing.
- Make sure your hands are clean and dry.
- Familiarize yourself with the carotid pulse location.

Step 2: Locate the Carotid Pulse:

- Gently place the pads of your index and middle fingers on the side of the neck, just below the jawline, in the hollow between the windpipe and the large neck muscle.
- Apply slight pressure until you feel the pulsation.

Step 3: Apply Gentle Pressure:

- Apply a gentle, but firm, pressure with your fingers to the carotid artery. Avoid pressing too hard, as it may obstruct blood flow and give inaccurate results.

Step 4: Assess the Pulse:

- Count the beats for a full 60 seconds to determine the person's heart rate accurately.
- Alternatively, count the beats for 15 seconds and multiply the number by four to obtain the heart rate per minute.

Step 5: Evaluate the Quality of the Pulse:

- Observe the strength and regularity of the carotid pulse.
- Note any irregularities, such as a weak or bounding pulse, or skipped beats.

Step 6: Document the Findings:

- Record the heart rate, rhythm, and any notable observations in the person's medical records or documentation.

MyCPR NOW emphasizes the importance of seeking professional medical assistance if the carotid pulse is absent or significantly abnormal.


Checking the carotid pulse is a crucial skill in assessing a person's cardiac function and overall well-being. By following the step-by-step guide outlined above and utilizing the resources provided by MyCPR NOW, you can enhance your proficiency in carotid pulse assessment. Remember, accuracy and precision are essential in obtaining reliable results. With the knowledge and skills gained from MyCPR NOW, you will be better equipped to assess the carotid pulse effectively, enabling prompt identification of abnormalities and appropriate response in emergency situations.

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