Another Method to Catch Afib

By: Alere Staff

Measuring Your Peripheral Pulse

Preventing the risk of a stroke, dementia and possible death by simply monitoring a patient’s pulse was studied with a group of patients who had already suffered an ischemic stroke. The group of patients was monitored from April 2012 to February 2013 with overwhelmingly positive results.1

These study patients and their family members were taught how to successfully perform a measurement of their pulse rate from either the left radial artery, right radial artery or the right carotid artery.1

Part of this training included how to distinguish between a normal, rhythmic pulse and an irregular, possible atrial fibrillation-type pulse. Atrial fibrillation, also known as Afib, is responsible for over 467,000 hospitalizations a year. Undiagnosed Afib can cause a stroke, especially in patients over the age of 65.1 Finding an easier, noninvasive technique to monitor for this common heart rhythm irregularity can be incredibly important for patients. Their accuracy was determined to be successful by the use of an EKG to confirm the rhythm.1 Once confirmed, they were then taught how to measure this pulse while using a stopwatch. If they were determined to be accurate, they were monitored and measured on their success.

The Results

The study, Peripheral Pulse Measurement After Ischemic Stroke, confirmed that the measurement of peripheral pulse by a healthcare professional has an “excellent” sensitivity for Afib detection after a stroke.2 It also confirmed that most stroke patients can be taught how to use this method themselves or a family member can be taught this measurement technique with a low rate of false positive results.1,2 The authors stated that every suspected case of Afib must be confirmed by an EKG.

This technique is currently being studied to determine other possibilities to help prevent irregular heart rhythm complications.1,2 Talk with your physician or health care professional for further information.


1.    Bolyes, S. DIY Pulse Check May Spot Atrial Fibrillation. Accessed December 14, 2014.

2.    Kallmunzer, B., et al. Peripheral pulse measurement after ischemic stroke: A feasibility study. Abstract accessed December 14, 2014.