Cardiac and Peripheral Vascular Systems Assessment


The essay is dedicated to the assessment of cardiac and peripheral vascular systems. The most effective methods are described. The essay specifies the ways and circumstances in which the assessment should be performed. The preferred approaches for future practice are delineated. The essay also establishes the benefits for the patients on the condition of applying the chosen methods.


The human body consists of several vital systems, each of them being responsible for the organism’s normal operation. Any abnormalities in cardiac or peripheral vascular systems may be signals about serious diseases in a patient’s body. Therefore, quality assessment of these systems is required.

Cardiac System Assessment

Before the inspection of cardiac systems, a nurse asks a patient whether he/she has had a history of heart disease or a heart attack. To check the cardiac system, a nurse checks the precordium area. The patient should be in a supine (or lying) position. The nurse palpates the apex, the left sternal border, and the base to check the unusual pulsations (Jarvis, 2016a). In normal conditions, there should not be any. Cardiovascular assessment involves the inspection of such neck vascular structures as the internal and external jugular veins and the carotid arteries. To check these vessels, a nurse may resort to palpation and auscultation of the carotid arteries or inspection of the jugular veins. The nurse performs the palpation with the index and middle fingers. Each artery should be palpated in turn. The process of palpation should be performed gently to avoid the heart rate’s slowing down. For auscultation of the carotid arteries, the patient should take a deep breath, then exhale and hold it. Using the stethoscope, a nurse applies its bell in three positions: at the jaw’s angle, at the mid-cervical area, and the neck’s base (Jarvis, 2016a). Auscultation allows us to check the presence of bruits – low swishing sounds signifying turbulence in blood flow. In normal conditions, no bruits should be present. The inspection of the jugular veins allows evaluating the central venous pressure.

Peripheral Vascular System Assessment

Before the evaluation of the peripheral vascular system, a nurse observes the patient’s upper and lower extremities to see their color and hair distribution and check for any scars. Radial and brachial pulse palpation and a modified Allan test are applied on hands. On legs, the nurse checks the popliteal, femoral, posterior tibial, and dorsalis pedis arteries (Jarvis, 2016b). Also, the Doppler ultrasonic probe or the Wells score may be applied.

Preferred Assessments for My Future Practice

For the assessment of the cardiac system, I will apply jugular veins inspection and palpation and auscultation of the carotid arteries. The rationale is the following: I will choose the most suitable position for the patient (sitting or lying depending on the procedure), and I will take care to keep the temperature in the examination room warm and to keep my movements and touches gently not to deviate the assessment results.

To assess the peripheral vascular system, I will perform radial and brachial pulse palpation and the Wells score. The rationale is similar to the previous one: to keep the temperature in the room warm, to put the patient in a comfortable position, and to do my best to provide the most precise results.

Benefits of the Chosen Assessments for the Patients

Inspection of jugular veins is a great way to check any disorders in systemic venous pressure. Assessment of the carotid arteries is beneficial because it allows us to see the disorders in the patient’s pulsation and to find bruits, which may be causes of heart disease.

The Wells score is the most effective way of determining the probability of deep vein thrombosis. Radial and brachial pulse palpation are advantageous methods for identifying the arterial inefficiency


Peripheral vascular and cardiac systems should be checked regularly to analyze any inconsistencies in the organism. The most effective assessment ways for the cardiac system are palpation, auscultation, and jugular veins inspection. For peripheral vascular system assessment, the most efficient methods are brachial and radial pulse palpation and the Wells score.


Jarvis, C. (2016a). Heart and neck vessels.In C. Jarvis (Ed.), Physical examination and health assessment (7ed.) (pp. 459-508). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Saunders.

Jarvis, C. (2016b). Peripheral vascular system and lymphatic system.In C. Jarvis (Ed.), Physical examination and health assessment (7ed.) (pp. 509-536). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Saunders.