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Advice from the BP Measurement Experts

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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Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Reconsidering ABPM Reimbursement and Coverage

 

Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Reconsidering ABPM Reimbursement and Coverage stethoscope with calculator

The US reimbursement guidelines for Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (ABPM) may change after the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) penned a joint letter to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requesting that CMS reconsider the current ABPM guidelines.

 

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Letting the Dust Settle on New Hypertension Guidelines

Female Nurse Drawing Heartline

The April 2015 edition of Cardiology Today includes an interesting article – “New Hypertension Recommendations Anticipated in 2016” - stating that the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC), in collaboration with nine other medical societies, will be releasing new hypertension guidelines that will serve as an update to those released by the Seventh Joint National Committee (JNC 7) in 2003.

But, wait…weren’t updated guidelines already published back in 2013? As a matter of fact, they were!

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Interval Exercise: A New Approach to Lowering BP

Breaking Up Your Exercise May lower BP more EffectivelyExercise has long been recommended to patients wanting a non-pharmaceutical approach to achieving lower blood pressure (BP). The American Heart Association (AHA) specifically recommends:

  • At least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity (2 hours and 30 minutes) each week.
  • Incorporate your weekly physical activity with 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week.
  • Physical activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, and preferably, should be spread throughout the week.
  • Include flexibility and stretching exercises.
  • Include muscle strengthening activity at least 2 days each week.1
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Guidelines for Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring in Children

Child patientHaving covered the recently rising awareness of childhood hypertension, we thought it appropriate to highlight the guidelines of using ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) in children. The American Heart Association has published comprehensive recommendations on this topic...


 

...Which can be found here.  Additionally, separate commentary by Dr. Bruce Alpert, one of the contributing authors, can be found on the SunTech White Papers section.

In some ways, the guidelines for its use on children is not so different than for adults.  However, you should be aware of the following nuances:

  • Check the monitor’s qualification: While clinical validation to the US standard (AAMI) and to the British standard (BHS) are mandatory before a product is allowed on the market, an ABPM specifically needs to be validated for use on children and adolescents.  Make sure to inquire with the manufacturer or representative that the ABPM has been tested to and passed the validation with children as subjects.
  • Use equipment tuned for children: The ABPM should be lightweight, small, quiet, and well-protected when it is worn by the child.  More importantly, an appropriately-sized cuff must be used.
  • Use ABPM software that analyzes children’s BP readings according to the previously discussed thresholds based on age, gender, and height.

The AHA statement goes into significantly more detail.  However, the three guidelines above are the most important to successfully using ABPM on children in a medical practice.

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Wrist versus Upper Arm Blood Pressure Measurement

BP measurement device

Is wrist BP an acceptable way to guide treatment for obese patients?

For over 100 years, upper arm blood pressure (BP) measurement has been the gold standard method to guide treatment decisions. This is the recommended technique by both the American Heart Association (AHA) and the European Society of Hypertension (ESH).

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Life's Simple 7 Heart Health Factors

Heart Health videoBlood Pressure is one of the American Heart Association's Life's Simple 7 factors included in the My Life Check to help Americans assess and improve their heart health. Small changes in any of the 7 categories lead to improved heart health. Check out your Heart Score today!

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Hypertension in China presents similar challenges seen in the U.S.

Hypertension in ChinaI recently read an article indicating hypertension - or high blood pressure - as the leading preventable cause of premature deaths in China. As I was reading, it made me realize how similar healthcare issues in China and the U.S. truly are.

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February 5th is National Wear Red Day

The Heart Truth logoWear Red Day was created to raise awareness about the risk factors of heart disease, specifically for women. It is the #1 killer of American women, even surpassing deaths resulting from all forms of cancer. The Heart Truth provides tools for women to prevent and control risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity. Available materials to help women reduce their risk of heart disease include an Action plan, Heart Health Handbook, and a Heart Health Cookbook. To find out more about National Wear Red Day, check out The Heart Truth website and program overview.

®National Wear Red Day is a registered trademark of HHS and AHA.

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Survey Shows that Family Physicians Overestimate Their Effectiveness in Treating Hypertension


Family physicians overestimate their effectiveness in treating hypertensionA recent survey published in BMC Family Practice shows that US internists and family practice physicians mistakenly believe they are adequately treating high blood pressure. All of the surveyed physicians felt like they treated hypertension adequately and many cited the biggest challenge in blood pressure control as patient noncompliance.

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A Guide to Ambulatory Monitoring -- How to Instruct Your Patients

Dr. Henry Black interview videoDr. Henry Black, president of the American Society of Hypertension, explains the usefulness of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, the short-comings of home bp, and why home bp will never replace ABPM.

Note: To view this video you will need to register for a free membership to Medscape Today.

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10 Steps to Accurate Manual Blood Pressure Measurement

Picture of Accurate Manual Blood Pressure MeasurementWorking for a company that develops blood pressure monitoring devices and technologies, I deal with blood pressure on some level every day. We make accurate and reliable blood pressure measurement our business...literally. So, it only makes sense that we should care about accurate blood pressure measurement from a fundamental perspective, which is the inspiration for my first blog post.

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