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A normal pulse is regular in rhythm and force. An irregular pulse may be due to sinus arrhythmia, ectopic beats, atrial fibrillation, paroxysmal atrial tachycardia, atrial flutter, partial heart block etc. Intermittent dropping out of beats at pulse is called "intermittent pulse". Examples of regular intermittent (regularly irregular) pulse include pulsus bigeminus, second-degree atrioventricular block. An example of irregular intermittent (irregularly irregular) pulse is atrial fibrillation.

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The pulse rate can be used to check overall heart health and fitness level. Generally lower is better, but bradycardias can be dangerous. Symptoms of a dangerously slow heartbeat include weakness, loss of energy and fainting.

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