A bounding pulse is a strong throbbing felt over one of the arteries in the body. It is due to a forceful heartbeat.
A bounding pulse and rapid heart rate both occur in the following conditions or events:
- Abnormal or rapid heart rhythms
- Long-term (chronic) kidney disease
- Heart failure
- Heart valve problem called aortic regurgitation
- Heavy exercise
- Pregnancy, because of increased fluid and blood in the body
- Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if the intensity or rate of your pulse increases suddenly and does not go away. This is very important when:
- You have other symptoms along with increased pulse.
- The change in your pulse does not go away when you rest for a few minutes.
- You already have been diagnosed with a heart problem.
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
Your provider will do a physical exam that includes checking your temperature, pulse, rate of breathing, and blood pressure. Your heart and circulation will also be checked.
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 always present, or does it come and go?
- Does it only happen along with other symptoms, such as palpitations? What other symptoms do you have?
- Does it get better if you rest?
- Are you pregnant?
- Have you had a fever?
- Have you been very anxious or stressed?
- Do you have other heart problems, such as heart valve disease, high blood pressure, or congestive heart failure?
- Do you have kidney failure?
The following diagnostic tests may be performed:
Fang JC, O’Gara PT. The history and physical examination: an evidence-based approach. In: Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald’s Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 10.
Goldman L. Approach to the patient with possible cardiovascular disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 51.