11 doctors weighed in:

Can you tell by taking a person's pulse if they have atrial fib?

11 doctors weighed in
Dr. Alon Gitig
Internal Medicine - Cardiology
8 doctors agree

In brief: Yes

Atrial fibrillation, by definition, is an irregularity in the heartbeat, and therefore is detectable by manual palpation of someone's pulse.
It should always be confirmed with an EKG tracing, because there are other causes of pulse irregularity which occasionally can be difficult to distinguish on physical exam, and which have different implications for therapy from atrial fib.

In brief: Yes

Atrial fibrillation, by definition, is an irregularity in the heartbeat, and therefore is detectable by manual palpation of someone's pulse.
It should always be confirmed with an EKG tracing, because there are other causes of pulse irregularity which occasionally can be difficult to distinguish on physical exam, and which have different implications for therapy from atrial fib.
Dr. Alon Gitig
Dr. Alon Gitig
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Dr. Bradley Peckler
Emergency Medicine

In brief: Yes

You can feel if the pulse is irregular but it is not necessarily A fib as there are many other things that can cause an irregular pulse.

In brief: Yes

You can feel if the pulse is irregular but it is not necessarily A fib as there are many other things that can cause an irregular pulse.
Dr. Bradley Peckler
Dr. Bradley Peckler
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Dr. Jason Rubenstein
Internal Medicine - Cardiology

In brief: Not Always

Someone with af often has an irregular pulse; however, the irregularity can sometimes be too subtle to pick up by just feeling the pulse.
Other rhythms can also cause irregularity and not be af. An ECG is essential to make the diagnosis.

In brief: Not Always

Someone with af often has an irregular pulse; however, the irregularity can sometimes be too subtle to pick up by just feeling the pulse.
Other rhythms can also cause irregularity and not be af. An ECG is essential to make the diagnosis.
Dr. Jason Rubenstein
Dr. Jason Rubenstein
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Dr. Howard Rubin
Internal Medicine - Cardiology

In brief: Areal fib

The pulse rhythm is described as "chaotic" or very irregular.

In brief: Areal fib

The pulse rhythm is described as "chaotic" or very irregular.
Dr. Howard Rubin
Dr. Howard Rubin
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