What is the difference between apical pulse and radial pulse?

The apical pulse is taken when the patient is lying or sitting. A stethoscope is used to listen to the heart and placed at the 5th intercostal space (between ribs on left side of body). The beats are counted for a full minute and recorded.

A radial pulse is taken by feeling (palpating) for the pulse on either wrist, just below the thumb (in the soft spot). The beats are counted for 30 seconds, then doubled. If the beats are irregular, they are counted for 60 seconds.

The pulse is recorded as beats per minute: BPM

An apical-radial pulse is when two nurses record each at the same time. The difference is called the "pulse deficit."