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Pulse - bounding

A bounding pulse is a strong and forceful heartbeat felt over one of the arteries in the body.

Alternative Names

Bounding pulse

Causes

A bounding pulse and rapid heart rate both occur in the following conditions or events:

  • Abnormal or rapid heart rhythms
  • Anemia
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Heart failure
  • Heart valve problem called aortic regurgitation
  • Heavy exercise
  • Fever
  • Pregnancy, because of increased fluid and blood in the body
  • Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidisim)

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if the intensity or rate of your pulse increases suddenly and does not go away. This is very important when:

  • You have other symptoms along with increased pulse.
  • The change in your pulse does not go away when you rest for a few minutes.
  • You already have been diagnosed with a heart problem.
Taking your carotid pulse

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

Your health care provider will do a physical exam that includes checking your temperature, pulse, rate of breathing, and blood pressure. Your heart and circulation will also be checked.

Your provider will ask questions such as:

  • Is this the first time you have felt a bounding pulse?
  • Did it develop suddenly or gradually? Is it always present, or does it come and go?
  • Does it only happen along with other symptoms, such as palpitations? What other symptoms do you have?
  • Does it get better if you rest?
  • Are you pregnant?
  • Have you had a fever?
  • Have you been very anxious or stressed?
  • Do you have other heart problems, such as heart valve disease, high blood pressure, or congestive heart failure?
  • Do you have kidney failure?

The following diagnostic tests may be performed:

References

Goldman L. Approach to the patient with possible cardiovascular disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 50.

Updated: 5/13/2014

Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.


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