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  Routine Pulse Check May Prevent Second Stroke, Study Says
Patients, relatives can get reliable results, researchers find

By Robert Preidt

WEDNESDAY, July 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Regularly checking the pulse of a stroke survivor may help prevent another stroke, researchers report.

"Screening pulse is the method of choice for checking for irregular heartbeat for people over age 65 who have never had a stroke. Our study shows it may be a safe, effective, noninvasive and easy way to identify people who might need more thorough monitoring to prevent a second stroke," said study author Dr. Bernd Kallmunzer, of Erlangen University in Germany.

The study included more than 250 people who survived an ischemic stroke (blocked blood flow to the brain). Either the patients or their relatives were taught how to monitor the pulse to detect an irregular heartbeat.

Pulse checks taken by patients and relatives were nearly as accurate as those taken by health care workers, according to the study published online July 23 in the journal Neurology.

The pulse readings taken by the participants and health care professionals were compared to readings of electrical activity in the heart, which showed that 57 of the patients had irregular heartbeats.

Pulse measurements taken by relatives had a sensitivity of 77 percent and a specificity of 93 percent, compared with about 97 percent and 94 percent, respectively, for health care workers.

Sensitivity is the percentage of positive findings that are correctly identified. Specificity is the percentage of negative findings that are correctly identified.

Among patients who did their own pulse checks, 89 percent provided reliable results, with a sensitivity of 54 percent and specificity of 96 percent. False positives occurred in six patients and false negatives in 17 patients.

"The low rate of false positives in this study shows that health care professionals, caregivers and patients can be guided to use this simple tool as a first step in helping to prevent a second stroke," Kallmunzer said in a journal news release.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about stroke.

SOURCE: Neurology, news release, July 23, 2014

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=689889

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
Pulse
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The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


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