Royal Sussex County Hospital. Princes Royal Hospital. Hove Polyclinic. Sussex Universities

Know Your Pulse

Checking your pulse is as important as seeing how much you weigh or checking your blood pressure.

'Knowing Your Pulse' is one of the easiest ways to detect a cardiac arrhythmia. A cardiac arrhythmia is caused by a heartbeat that is too fast, too slow, or irregular.


The Pulse Check Card
A simple four step guide on how to take your pulse, what the pulse is, what it means and what pulse rates require further investigation from a GP. The Pulse Check Card is suitable for all individuals with an interest in their personal health.

To ‘Know Your Pulse’ download your FREE Pulse Check Card and follow the Four Simple Steps.

What is the point of pulse checks?

  • 100,000 Sudden Cardiac Deaths each year in the UK, leading to more deaths than breast cancer, lung cancer and AIDS combined.
  • 600,000+ patients diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation (AF – the most common arrhythmia) in England.
  • Reduction in stroke (18% of strokes being associated with AF -the most common heart rhythm disturbance).
  • Detection of previously unknown arrhythmias, enabling patients to receive timely and effective diagnosis and treatment.
  • Reduction in NHS costs incurred through mis-diagnosis and mis-treatment of patients with cardiac arrhythmias.
  • 200,000 newly diagnosed AF patients per year in the UK, and this is rising due to an aging population and increased numbers surviving conditions which predispose them to AF.
  • The National Audit of the Organisation of Services for Falls and Bone Health of Older People, found serious gaps in the aftercare of services for those who have had a fall and highlighted that 50% of Primary Care Organisations do not check for heart conditions, which can cause fainting.
  • At the age of 40, we all have a 1 in 4 life time risk of developing AF.
  • The simplest way to detect an arrhythmia is to ‘Know Your Pulse’.

Courtesy of Arrhtyhmia Alliance. Registered Charity No. 1107496 ©2010