-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Routine blood pressure
monitoring measurements taken at clinics are frequently inaccurate
and can affect treatment for high blood pressure, according to a
The incorrect measurements occur because some health care
providers don't follow official American Heart Association
recommendations for accurate and consistent blood pressure
measurements, the researchers said in a journal news release.
Body position, arm position, differences between arms, and blood
pressure cuff size and placement can all affect the
The researchers compared blood pressure measurements of 40
people taken using the AHA-recommend method and the traditional
methods routinely used in clinics. The two measurements were
different for as many as 93 percent of the patients.
There were multiple technical errors during blood pressure
measurements taken at clinics. Out of 10 possible errors as defined
by the AHA, the average number of errors per patient during blood
pressure measurements at clinics was four. The most common was not
taking readings from both arms.
Hypothetical treatment decisions provided by three physicians
suggested that 45 percent of the patients would have received
different treatments based on the two different blood pressure
"Inaccurate blood pressure assessment is common and may impact hypertension treatment. Clinic staff need to be educated on the AHA recommendations for accurate blood pressure measurement, and encouraged to follow them in order to obtain a more accurate reading. More accurate blood pressure measurement could result in improved hypertension-management decisions," concluded Gretchen Ray and colleagues from the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy, in the release.
The study appears online in the
Journal of General Internal Medicine.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute explains the
causes and dangers of
high blood pressure.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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