Carotid Artery Assessment | Jugular Venous Distention | Neck Assessment Nursing

Carotid artery assessment (auscultate carotid artery & palpate carotid artery) with jugular venous distention exam of the nursing neck assessment (part of the head-to-toe assessment exam). This video will demonstrate how to auscultate and palpate the carotid artery in the neck using the bell of the stethoscope. Then it will demonstrate how to assess for increased central venous pressure in the external vein and compare it with a patient in congestive heart failure with a bulging external jugular vein.

Attribution: This video features an image called “jugular venous distension” by James Heilman, MD, available under a Creative Commons Attrbution-Noncommerical license. (

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Carotid artery assessment, jugular venous distention, and neck assessment are critical components of a comprehensive nursing assessment. The carotid arteries are the main blood vessels in the neck that supply blood to the brain. During carotid artery assessment, nurses evaluate the strength and quality of the pulse in these arteries, as well as any signs of plaque buildup or narrowing that could lead to stroke or other cardiovascular diseases.

Jugular venous distention, on the other hand, refers to the visible bulging of the jugular veins in the neck. This can be a sign of increased pressure in the heart or lungs, and can indicate a range of conditions including heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, or fluid overload. Nurses will carefully observe the neck for any signs of jugular venous distention and report their findings to the medical team.

Finally, neck assessment involves a thorough examination of the neck and its structures, including the lymph nodes, thyroid gland, and cervical vertebrae. Nurses may also assess range of motion and any signs of pain or discomfort. A comprehensive neck assessment can help identify a range of conditions including infections, tumors, or degenerative diseases.

Overall, carotid artery assessment, jugular venous distention, and neck assessment are essential components of a nursing assessment that can help identify a range of health conditions and inform treatment decisions. By carefully observing these areas and reporting any abnormalities, nurses can play a critical role in promoting patient health and well-being.


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