apex beat

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  • the normal position of the apex beat of the heart is the fifth intercostal space, medial to or at the midclavicular line
    • usually, this clinical location is slightly medial to the deeper anatomical apex of the heart
    • infants and children have apex beats which are superior and more lateral to those in adults

  • on palpation of the apex beat the examiner should attempt to judge if an enlarged heart is feeble (dilated) or stronger than usual (left or right ventricle hypertrophy or both)


  • 1) Kirby B (1993). Clinical examination of the heart. Medicine International, 21(8), 294-99.