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A bounding pulse is a strong and forceful pulse.

See also: Heart palpitations

Alternative Names:

Bounding pulse

  • A bounding pulse can often be seen in arteries that are close to the skin.
  • A bounding pulse is often a sign of excessive fluid in the circulation (fluid overload).
  • A rapid heart rate and bounding pulse can occur together, but can also occur separately.
  • A rapid pulse can be a symptom of arrhythmia . Tachycardia, a heart rate that is faster than normal, may accompany a bounding pulse.

Common Causes:
  • A rapid heart rate and bounding pulse both occur normally with heavy exercise, pregnancy, fever, or high anxiety.
  • A bounding pulse is often associated with high blood pressure or fluid overload. Fluid overload can occur with heart failure , aortic valve regurgitation, chronic kidney failure , and other conditions.

Home Care:

Call your health care provider if:

Call your health care provider if you experience a sudden, severe, or persistent increase in the intensity or rate of your pulse. This is particularly important when this increase is accompanied by other symptoms, or when it is not relieved by resting for a few minutes.

What to expect at your health care provider's office:

Your health care provider will perform a physical examination that includes monitoring your temperature, pulse, rate of breathing, and blood pressure. Your heart may also need to be monitored.

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 present continuously, or only from time to time?
  • Does it occur only when other symptoms (such as palpitations) are also present?
  • Are you pregnant?
  • Have you had a fever?
  • Have you been very anxious or stressed?
  • Do you have known high blood pressure or congestive heart failure?
  • Do you have kidney failure?
  • Do you have valvular heart disease (disease of your heart valves)?
  • Does it get better if you rest?
  • What other symptoms are present?

The following diagnostic tests may be performed:


Review Date: 5/1/2008
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc..

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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