The following are the principal varieties of the pulse:

Frequent Pulse

A pulse diminished in force, increased in frequency. A characteristic of debility.

Febrile Pulse

In fever, the rate of pulsation and usually also the force is increased.

Feeble Pulse

A pulse that is readily extinguished by pressure with the finger. Indicative of great debility or exhaustion.

Thready Pulse

A pulse which gives the sensation beneath'the finger of a vibrating thread. Present in cases of very great debility.

Slow Pulse

An unnaturally slow pulse occurs in cases of brain poisoning or apoplexy; it is present in compression of the brain from fracture, and in unconsciousness from opium or liquor.

Quick Pulse

An abrupt, jerking pulse, either frequent or moderate in rate of pulsation.

Hard Pulse

A pulse which seems to indent the finger. Indicates great excitement of the circulation.

Intermittent Pulse

A pulse which now and then loses a beat. Indicative of either functional or organic disease of the heart.

Irregular Pulse

A pulse which is irregular in frequency and force. The irregularity may be only slight, or may be extreme. Is generally found in heart disease. Is very often the result of the use of tobacco and of strong tea and coffee. Figs. 315 and 316 show the contrast between a healthy pulse and the irregular pulse of a tobacco-user, as indicated by the sphygmograph.

Fig. 315. Pulse of a Healthy Person.

Fig. 315. Pulse of a Healthy Person.

Fig. 316. Pulse of a Tobacco-User.

Fig. 316. Pulse of a Tobacco-User.

Irritable Pulse

A pulse which is both frequent and hard.

Wiry Pulse

A pulse which gives the impression of a vibrating wire.

Palpitation of the Heart, as will be further explained elsewhere, is an excessive action of the heart. Throbbing at pit of stomach is usually due to palpitation of the aorta.