Aims: To assess the effectiveness of screening for an irregular pulse by community pharmacists piloting a method and procedure for an irregular pulse detection campaign in community pharmacies in Spain.
Methods: Descriptive cross-sectional study conducted by SEFAC partner community pharmacists from November 24–29, 2016, and June 5–11, 2017. Inclusion criteria: users ≥ 40 years, without AF or with AF but not on anticoagulant treatment. Main variables: pulse (beats/minute) and CHA2DS2 VASc.
Results: There were 789 pulse measurements taken in both campaigns, from which it was found that 41 (5.2%) participants had an irregular pulse, Thirty-five (4.3%) were referred to their family doctors, which lead to confirmation of 12 (1.5%) new diagnoses of AF with 7 (0.9%) of them initiating anticoagulant treatment.
More than 80% of the participants did not present any clinical symptoms of AF and 41.9% suffered from hypertension. The number of patients with CHA2DS2 VASc ≥ 2 and an irregular pulse was 17 (3.9%), of which 10 (58.8%) were not in treatment; 5 (29.4%) were in antiplatelet therapy and 2 (11.8%) were on anticoagulant treatment.
Conclusions: Both the high number of patients with diagnosed AF and not in treatment and the significant number of patients with an irregular pulse and suspected AF detected, demonstrate the capacity and efficacy of the community pharmacy in screening for an irregular pulse, thus contributing to the detection of new cases of AF.