Bounding pulse

Alternative names 
Rapid heart rate; Tachycardia; Heartbeat - fast; Pulse - bounding

A bounding pulse is a strong and forceful pulse. Tachycardia is a heart rate that is faster than normal. Tachycardia can occur alone, or it can accompany a bounding pulse. See also heartbeat sensations.


  • A bounding pulse can often be seen over arteries that are close to the skin.  
  • A rapid heart rate and bounding pulse can occur together, but can also occur separately. A rapid pulse can be a symptom of arrhythmias.  
  • A bounding pulse is often a sign that there is excessive fluid in the circulation (called fluid overload).

Common Causes

  • A rapid heart rate and bounding pulse both occur normally with heavy exercise, pregnancy, fever, or high anxiety.  
  • In infants, the pulse is normally fast, but not bounding.  
  • A bounding pulse is often associated with high blood pressure or fluid overload. Fluid overload can occur with congestive heart failure, aortic valve regurgitation, chronic kidney failure, and other conditions.

Call your health care provider if

Call your health care provider if there is any sudden, severe, or persistent increase in your pulse’s intensity or rate. Calling is particularly important when accompanied by other symptoms, or when 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. Your vital signs will be monitored, such as your temperature, pulse, rate of breathing, and blood pressure, and your heart may need to be monitored.

Your provider will ask questions about this symptom, such as:

  • Is this the first time you have felt a bounding pulse?  
  • Did it develop suddenly or gradually?  
  • Is it present continuously?  
  • Is it only there 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?  
  • Does it get better if you rest?  
  • What other symptoms are present?

The following diagnostic tests may be performed:

  • Blood studies (CBC or blood differential)  
  • ECG  
  • Echocardiogram  
  • X-rays of the chest


Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 8, 2012
by Armen E. Martirosyan, M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.