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Advice from the BP Measurement Experts

Check out our latest Hypertension related blog articles. 

A Surprising Number of Clinicians Fail to Accurately Measure Blood Pressure

 

clinician frustrated about blood pressure results

A surprising number of clinicians fail to accurately measure  blood pressure according to a recent joint survey of more than 2,000 healthcare professionals conducted by the AMA and the American Heart Association. One of the most striking highlights were only 1 in 10 medical assistants were able to answer all 6 of the best-practice in blood pressure (BP) measurement questions.

 


According to American Medical Association (AMA) president Dr. Patrice, Harris, “Hypertension is a leading risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and preventable death in the U.S. Inaccurate blood pressure readings can lead to diagnosis errors, which means getting an accurate reading is vital to treating the condition.”

A recent study published in the journal Hypertension found an increase in high blood pressure (hypertension) cases during pregnancy. By reviewing CDC data on >151 million women between 1970 and 2010, the researchers found a 6% yearly increase in hypertension. The implications being complications for the mother, such as preeclampsia, or an increased risk of preterm birth.

Although the need for accurate BP measurement is clear, the joint survey showed the gap in BP knowledge that many healthcare professionals have. The most frequently missed best-practice question was about proper cuff-wrap-inflation, followed by proper brachial artery cuff position. Both factors are critical to getting an accurate BP reading. Even though the healthcare professionals surveyed were aware of the opportunities for error in BP measurement, BP refresher training is reported to be infrequently held.

The same AMA-AHA survey suggested that healthcare professionals believe up to 41% of BP measurements taken across all medical practices are less than 100% accurate. Although the overall error rate was acknowledged, most respondents felt that their practice was better than the norm.

To ensure an accurate reading, consider these 10 factors that can affect blood pressure readings and advice from our Clinical Manager:

  • If you have a wound, do not apply a BP cuff over, as this can cause further injury.
  • If you have had a single mastectomy, do not apply a BP cuff to the arm on that side. In the case of double mastectomy, use the side of the least dominate arm.
  • Too frequent BP measurements can cause injury due to blood flow interference.

Additional Resources:

To learn more about the basics of BP, see this TedEd on How blood pressure works by Wilfred Manzano.

Want to try your hand at taking a BP reading? Check out this BP simulation.

Sources:

https://www.ama-assn.org/press-center/press-releases/new-research-shows-need-re-training-blood-pressure-measurement

https://www.modernhealthcare.com/safety-quality/ama-aha-look-retrain-physicians-measure-blood-pressure

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/a-growing-problem-pregnancy-vs-high-blood-pressure/2019/11/08/0ff37238-fb52-11e9-ac8c-8eced29ca6ef_story.html

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Measure Your Dogs Blood Pressure on International Dog Day

 

happy corgi

It’s that time of year again and international dog day is right around the corner on August 26th!

What better way to spend this dedicated dog day than taking your pup to get their blood pressure checked?

 

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Why Does Your Cat Have High Blood Pressure?

 

sick cat1

This year on International Cat Day (August 8th), take a few minutes to learn about the most common diseases and conditions that can cause your cat to have hypertension, or high blood pressure.

 

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World Hypertension Day 2019: Know Your BP Numbers To Stay Healthy

 

world hypertension day know your numbers - image of a heart being measured

May 17th is World Hypertension Day and the theme for this year is “Know Your Numbers”. The goal of the day is increasing awareness of systolic and diastolic blood pressure values (systolic is the “top” number and diastolic is the “bottom”). If you’re like most people, your blood pressure is checked along with your temperature and weight nearly every time you see the doctor. Having your blood pressure taken has become so rudimentary for many of us that it can become easy to ignore until it becomes a problem. But what if you don’t visit the doctor regularly?

 

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New Guidelines for Measuring Blood Pressure from the American Heart Association

 

American Heart Association Logo

The American Heart Association just released a scientific statement on blood pressure (BP) measurement that outlines new guidelines for accurately measuring blood pressure. This is the first time the AHA has made significant updates to their recommendations since 2005. In the statement they describe and compare different methods of measuring BP and make many recommendations. What are the key points that a physician should learn from this new paper?

 

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