In medicine, a person's pulse is the throbbing of their arteries as an effect of the heart beat. It can be felt at the neck, at the wrist and other places.
The pulse results from pressure waves moving through the blood vessels, which are pliable; it is not caused by the forward movement of the blood. When the heart contracts, blood is ejected into the aorta and the aorta stretches. At this point the wave of distention (pulse wave) is most pronounced, but relatively slow-moving (3 to 5 m/s). As it travels towards the peripheral blood vessels, it gradually diminishes and becomes faster. In the large arterial branches, its velocity is 7 to 10 m/s; in the small arteries, it is 15 to 35 m/s. The pressure pulse is 15 or more times more rapidly transmitted than the blood flow.
Checking the radial pulse.