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Cardiology Research and Practice
Volume 2011, Article ID 164832, 14 pages
Review Article

A Brief Journey into the History of the Arterial Pulse

1Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Decatur, GA 30033-4004, USA
2Division of Cardiology, Emory University School of Medicine, 1639 Pierce Drive, 322 WMB, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA

Received 23 December 2010; Revised 26 April 2011; Accepted 20 May 2011

Academic Editor: Julian P. J. Halcox

Copyright © 2011 Nima Ghasemzadeh and A. Maziar Zafari. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. This paper illustrates the evolution of our knowledge of the arterial pulse from ancient times to the present. Several techniques for arterial pulse evaluation throughout history are discussed. Methods. Using databases including Worldcat, Pubmed, and Emory University Libraries' Catalogue, the significance of the arterial pulse is discussed in three historical eras of medicine: ancient, medieval, and modern. Summary. Techniques used over time to analyze arterial pulse and its characteristics have advanced from simple evaluation by touch to complex methodologies such as ultrasonography and plethysmography. Today's understanding of the various characteristics of the arterial pulse relies on our ancestors' observations and experiments. The pursuit of science continues to lead to major advancements in our knowledge of the arterial pulse and its application in diagnosis of atherosclerotic disease.