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Undiagnosed A-Fib Detected During Diabetic Foot Exam

WEDNESDAY, May 12, 2021 -- Atrial fibrillation (AF) can be detected during annual foot assessments in patients with diabetes, according to a study presented at EHRA 2021, an online scientific congress hosted by the European Society of Cardiology.

Ilias Kanellos, M.D., of the European University of Cyprus in Nicosia, and colleagues assessed the efficacy of having podiatrists and podologists perform foot pulse checks in their routine podiatry assessment, when encountering visual symptoms that suggest an underlying circulatory disorder in diabetes patients. Pulse palpation findings were confirmed with Doppler ultrasound wave assessments during evaluation of arterial blood supply (anterior-posterior tibial arteries and ramifications) of the diabetic foot.

The analysis included 300 patients (60 percent men; mean age, 60 years). The researchers found that pulse checks identified undiagnosed AF in 17 percent of diabetes patients. Rates of previously undiagnosed AF were similar between men and women.

"The study has identified a simple, quick, and low-cost way to identify patients with diabetes who have a heart rhythm disorder they were unaware of," Kanellos said in a statement. "This intervention has the potential to avoid strokes and preserve quality of life in this patient group."

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