What Causes Pulse Deficit?

When you are enjoying an athletic activity you will notice your heart beats faster than when you are just resting and reading a book. When you exercise your body may need three to four times your normal cardiac output. This happens because your muscles need more oxygen when you exert energy. So what causes pulse deficit and what is it? Pulse deficit is when one finds a difference in count between heartbeat and peripheral pulse. So what causes pulse deficit in people? In this blog, we will address what pulse deficit is, the causes, how to take a pulse, symptoms, and treatments.

What is Pulse Deficit?

Pulse deficit occurs when the heart is contracting and the pulse is not reaching the periphery. Pulse deficit can be dangerous if not treated properly, this is especially true if heart conditions run in your family. No need to worry because once you know the signs and what causes pulse deficit you will know to reach out to a doctor to get help for yourself or a loved one. 

Taking a Pulse

If you are wondering if your family member has a pulse deficit it is important to know how to properly take a pulse. You can begin taking a pulse by putting two fingers on a person’s neck or wrist. 

When Measuring Pulse in Someone’s Wrist:

  • Have the person’s arm held out straight, with the palm of their hand facing upwards
  • Place your first finger and middle fingers on their wrist, near the base of their thumb
  • Pull out a clock that shows your the seconds clearly, count how many beats you feel for one minute
  • If you can’t seem to find their pulse move your fingers around a bit and press a little harder on their wrist

If you take a person’s pulse and get an abnormally high number of heartbeats per minute or a wide range of different numbers when taking a pulse multiple times you may consider taking them to a professional.

causes pulse deficit

What Causes Pulse Deficit

  • Increased in anxiety
  • After exercise or other physical activity 
  • Heavy blood loss
  • Situations of extreme or chronic pain 
  • Low blood pressure or hypotension
  • Heart disease 
  • Heart failure 
  • Overactive thyroid gland

The causes of pulse deficit are good to take note of to ensure you are keeping your body in check.

What are the Symptoms of Pulse Deficit?

Once you know the symptoms of pulse deficit you will be able to detect early signs of pulse deficit or other problems in your health or your family’s health.

  • Increased heartbeats
  • Decreased pulse rate, especially if it occurs rapidly
  • Noticing for a long period of time differences in pulse rate of a heartbeat from the norm for one’s age group

Treatment for Pulse Deficit

When dealing with pulse deficit treatments can look like rest, mindfulness, and mediation. There are different types of mediation one can participate in. One practice is seated meditation:

  • You would begin by sitting quietly and close your eyes and breathing slowly 
  • Relax all your muscles beginning with the low body 
  • Shrug your shoulders and roll your neck 
  • As you exhale say the word peace out loud or to yourself 
  • Continue to do this for five to ten minutes
  • When your thoughts begin to wander off into space just simply bring your mind back to the pattern

These treatments are able to help restore the heart rate and pulse back to its normal pattern. Surgery and medication are also options to consider when treating pulse deficit. The most important thing you can do for your health is attending all yearly checkups because it is always better to find out things in the early stages. 

Contact Us

If you have any questions about what causes pulse deficit you can contact us through our website. We would be happy to assist you in anything regarding what causes pulse deficit and helping your schedule an appointment. 

A picture of Giovanni B. Ciuffo, MD wearing his Mercy One doctor attire.

About the Author

Giovanni B. Ciuffo, MD Director is an expert in Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery and Bloodless Heart Surgery is the outcome of his commitment to the development and improvement of both of these techniques. He runs a Cardiothoracic Surgery practice and manages Minimally Invasive and Bloodless Heart Surgery Program where he cares for patients from all over the country and locally. Click here to learn more about Dr. Ciuffo.

Board Certified:
American Board of Surgery
American Board of Thoracic Surgery