9 doctors weighed in:

Can the thumb be used for measuring heart rate?

9 doctors weighed in
Dr. Nassir Azimi
Interventional Cardiology
5 doctors agree

In brief: Possibly

Any sensory appendage can be attempted as long as one is able to sense the pulsations properly and not confuse their own pulse with that of the person being assessed.
Typically the index finger and tumbrels finger is utilized.

In brief: Possibly

Any sensory appendage can be attempted as long as one is able to sense the pulsations properly and not confuse their own pulse with that of the person being assessed.
Typically the index finger and tumbrels finger is utilized.
Dr. Nassir Azimi
Dr. Nassir Azimi
Thank
Dr. Bennett Werner
Internal Medicine - Cardiology
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Yes

The reason it was taught not to use the thumb is that you may feel the arterial pulse in the thumb itself as well as the target pulse.
But in practice, it's not a problem. You can use your thumb altho most people use their index (2nd) finger.

In brief: Yes

The reason it was taught not to use the thumb is that you may feel the arterial pulse in the thumb itself as well as the target pulse.
But in practice, it's not a problem. You can use your thumb altho most people use their index (2nd) finger.
Dr. Bennett Werner
Dr. Bennett Werner
Thank
Dr. Kristi Kohl
Family Medicine

In brief: Just your own

The concern about using your thumb to measure heart rate is that your thumb is larger and has a stronger pulse.
As you put pressure on someone, you might feel their pulse or you might feel your own. If you count your own pulse, that won't be an accurate reading of the other person's pulse. This is especially important when someone is sick and may have a decreased pulse.

In brief: Just your own

The concern about using your thumb to measure heart rate is that your thumb is larger and has a stronger pulse.
As you put pressure on someone, you might feel their pulse or you might feel your own. If you count your own pulse, that won't be an accurate reading of the other person's pulse. This is especially important when someone is sick and may have a decreased pulse.
Dr. Kristi Kohl
Dr. Kristi Kohl
Thank
Get help from a real doctor now
Dr. Umesh Patel
Board Certified, Preventive Medicine
39 years in practice
1M people helped
Continue
108,000 doctors available
Read more answers from doctors