Monitoring pulse after stroke may prevent second stroke - FOX 32 News Chicago

Monitoring pulse after stroke may prevent second stroke

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(WJBK) - A new study finds stroke victims who monitor their pulse may prevent a second stroke from happening.

"You can give people blood thinners that will lower their risk of a subsequent stroke if you do detect that they have atrial fibrillation, and so it's important that either family members or even the patient themselves can detect it," says Dr. Jennifer Frontera, who treats stroke victims at the Cleveland Clinic.

Researchers in Germany studied 256 stroke victims. They and their loved ones were taught how to monitor a pulse to detect an irregular heartbeat, which can be a sign of atrial fibrillation, a major risk factor for stroke.

They found nearly 90 percent of the stroke victims were able to reliably measure their own pulse, while nearly 80 percent of their loved ones did, too. Researchers say this may be a simple tool that can be used to prevent a second stroke.

Dr. Frontera agrees.

"It's nice to see that people can be trained to do this. They can do it with a reasonable level of accuracy and family members can be trained to help out patients who are unable to do it for themselves," she says.

The National Stroke Association says to check your pulse, turn your left palm upwards, find your pulse as you slide your fingers toward the center of your wrist, then feel your pulse for 60 seconds. They say don't count and just feel for a regular rhythm.

Complete findings for the study are in the journal "Neurology."
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