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Taking Pulse May Help Track Stroke Risk

People who have had strokes and their family members can help detect an increased risk of a second stroke, a new study suggests. The technique used was a simple one: checking the pulse. The study included 256 people. Each person had a prior stroke caused by a blood clot. Stroke survivors and close family members were trained to detect atrial fibrillation by taking the pulse. This irregular heart rhythm can increase the risk of blood clots forming in the heart. A clot that travels to the brain may cause a stroke. All of the stroke survivors received EKG tests. They found that 57 people had atrial fibrillation. The EKG results were compared with pulse readings performed by stroke survivors, relatives and health professionals. Pulse readings done by patients correctly detected 54% of the cases of atrial fibrillation. Relatives detected 77% and health professionals 97%.

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