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GPs to take pulse in all at-risk patients

GPs should take the pulse of all patients with risk factors for atrial fibrillation, new NICE guidance states.

The final guidance, published this week, calls for opportunistic screening for the condition in patient with breathlessness, palpitations, dizziness or chest discomfort.

GPs should also check patients with risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes and ischaemic heart disease for an irregular pulse and perform an ECG on all patients with an irregular pulse where atrial fibrillation is suspected.

Dr Mark Davis, a GP in Leeds and member of the guideline development group, said: 'Diagnosing atrial fibrillation is so important in stroke prevention and GPs are going to have an increased role in managing these patients. These are people you are seeing anyway. It is little

extra work to pick up AF.'

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