pulse check

Checking your pulse

Look through our symptoms section to see if you may be experiencing any of the signs of AF. Remember that 15–30% of cases are ‘silent’ which means there are no symptoms, so checking your pulse can help detect an irregular heartbeat.

The easiest way to check if you have AF is by checking your pulse. If the rhythm of your heartbeat seems irregular, too fast or too slow this may indicate AF. There are a number of available technologies for you to easily check your pulse. It is very important that you speak with your doctor as soon as you notice any symptoms of AF, or have detected an irregular pulse.

Manual check

Your pulse can also be checked manually by placing two fingers in the correct area of your wrist or neck.  To find details of how this can be done, check out this link.


Initially designed as app available on prescription from a doctor.  Some doctors still "prescribe" the app in this way or it is now available for public purchase through the App store or Google play store (12 months subscription is €10 per month). Once the app has been downloaded onto a smartphone the heart rate and rhythm can be detected through the smartphone's camera by placing a finger on the camera for 60 seconds.


A portable handheld device which can detect the heart rhythm and heart rate when two fingers are placed on the sensors.  The measurements are transferred by the mobile network to a central database, where they are presented to your designated care provider/ doctor for further analysis.

Apple Watch

The series 4 Apple watch has electrodes built into the digital crown to work with the ECG app so when a finger is placed on this area it is able to read your heart’s electrical signals.  After 30 seconds, the heart rhythm is classified as either AF, sinus rhythm or inconclusive. All recordings, their associated classifications and any noted symptoms are stored securely in the Health app on iPhone. Users can share a PDF of the results with physicians.


This app can be downloaded for free but the user needs to purchase a monitoring pad (Kardiamobile) or a special strap for an Apple watch (Kardiaband) to monitor your pulse with the app. Users place their fingers on the monitoring pads which detect the heart rate and rhythm, providing a reading after 30 seconds, indicating a normal rhythm or AF.

afib ecg

Other tests

Your doctor will confirm a diagnosis of AF and may use a range of tests, which will most likely include an electrocardiogram (or ECG) test – this measures the electrical activity of your heart to show whether or not there is any irregularity. An ECG records the heart's rhythm and activity on a moving strip of paper or a line on a screen. 

Early detection and management of AF can help to avoid more serious complications such as stroke.1


1. Mairesse G et al.  Europace 2017: (19) 1589-1623 Screening for atrial fibrillation: a European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) consensus document endorsed by the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS), Asia Pacific Heart Rhythm Society (APHRS), and Sociedad Latinoamericana de Estimulación Cardíaca y Electrofisiología (SOLAECE).


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The information featured here is not intended as medical advice, or to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. Please talk to your doctor if you have any questions.

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