So for the last 100+ years, clinicians have been using the auscultatory method for determining a patient’s blood pressure. This method is used every day to determine if a patient needs medication or some other clinical intervention for high blood pressure. Performed correctly, it’s considered by many in the profession to be the ‘gold standard’ for measuring blood pressure. But it’s that phrase ‘performed correctly’ that’s the kicker.
A recent policy statement from the World Hypertension League calls into question the accuracy of many auscultatory BP measurements taken today. Huh? If it’s worked for over one hundred years, how is it possible that auscultatory measurements are now being deemed inaccurate?
According to the publication’s authors, the problem is the inconsistent quality of the applied method used to take auscultatory readings, and that “outside of high-quality research trials,” BP measurements are frequently inaccurate as a result. The authors recommend:
“That in clinical settings for noninvasive BP assessment, a semi-automated or fully automated oscillometric BP device that uses a range of upper arm cuffs be used routinely and that manual BP measurement with a recently calibrated device, appropriate cuff size, and a recently trained observer be used to estimate BP only where automated measures are not feasible for technical reasons.”
To be clear, our team here at SunTech Medical is dedicated to making sure BP measurements are accurate, regardless of the equipment used. That’s why we spend a significant amount of time producing and disseminating materials about taking accurate BP - manual as well as automated. But as a company on the leading edge of automated blood pressure measurement technology, we relish the opportunity to help clinicians and patients get the most out of their clinical encounter. After all, better data means better treatments—which means healthier, happier patients. And that’s a good, good thing!