Collapsing Pulse

Understanding a Collapsing Pulse

When you hear the term collapsing pulse you may be a little bit frightened.  It is important to first understand what it is and what you may be able to do about it.  Understanding how our bodies work is the first step towards remaining healthy and safe.  Therefore, if you have been told you have a collapsing pulse, take the time to understand what it is before you become completely overwhelmed.


If you have a collapsing pulse, this simply means that your pulse has a fast upstroke as well as a fast down stroke.  There are several different causes for this type of pulse.  The first cause of a collapsing pulse may be anemia.  What you need to remember about anemia is that, contrary to what many believe, this can be a sign of a disease.  It is not a disease of its own.  There are different types of anemia as well.  Therefore, if your doctor informs you that you have anemia you should clarify which type it is in order to get the best possible treatment for it.  Another cause of a collapsing pulse may be essential hypertension.  This is something that is not very uncommon but it does need to be controlled.  You are going to want to talk to your doctor about what you can do in order to control your hypertension if you know that you have it.

There are several names that have been given for a collapsing pulse.  Some of these include Corrigan pulse, water hammer pulse, pistol-shot pulse or even trip-hammer pulse. You need to be aware of these other names just in case your doctor uses these terms. Just remember that they all mean the same thing.


If you have been told that you have a collapsing pulse, you may want to notify healthcare professionals when you go to the doctor’s office.  The individuals that are going to be checking your vital signs may need to take your pulse differently than they would for others.  If they know that you have this type of pulse, they are going to be able to carry out their task in a different manner in order to get an accurate reading.  It is always best to make sure that you make any new staff aware of this condition as well so that they can do their job accurately.

A collapsing pulse can be a sign of many different things.  Your doctor may want to complete more accurate testing in order to determine what may be causing it.  If you are seeing a new doctor, or a specialist, you are going to want to let him or her know about any health conditions you have so that he or she can begin to make an accurate diagnosis or order the correct testing to get to the bottom of what is going on.

Many people live with a collapsing pulse.  As long as you can determine the cause and follow through with accurate treatment, you will be fine.  Some of the causes that were discussed earlier such as anemia and hypertension can be controlled and this may help clear up the collapsing pulse.  You are going to find that with your doctor’s help and by following the doctor’s orders, you will be just fine. If you are truly concerned with this issue you should talk to your doctor about it.  Find out what can be done in order to make things better. You will feel better when you have had an opportunity to express your concerns and your feelings.  Your doctor is going to help get you settled and feeling more comfortable with your collapsing pulse.