By KYW Medical Editor Dr. Brian McDonough

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A new, simple test that can be done at home might help save the lives of people with irregular heartbeats.

According to a new report in the journal Neurology, a simple physical examination tool used by many physicians can also be used by patients as well.

Researchers in Germany studied 200 people who had a stroke to see if their pulses predicted the presence of atrial fibrillation.  Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heartbeat that can be detected by checking your pulse.

According to the their report, when doctors and their family members tried to find atrial fibrillation in the pulse, they were successful 96-percent of the time. When relatives of stroke victims administered the test, they were able to detect it 77-percent of the time.  For patients self measurements, they were 54 percent sensitive.

The bottom line is it’s not an expensive test.  It’s teaching people how to recognize the irregular pulse and then to do something about it.


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