Arteries carry oxygenated blood away from the heart to the tissues of the body; veins carry blood depleted of oxygen from the same tissues back to the heart. The arteries are the vessels with the "pulse", a rhythmic pushing of the blood in the heart followed by a refilling of the heart chamber. To determine heart rate, one feels the beats at a pulse point like the inside of the wrist for 10 seconds, and multiplies this numbers by six. This is the per-minute total.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.