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Advice from the BP Measurement Experts

Instrument Calibration Adds Error Potential in Manual BP Measurement

Blood pressure instrumentsIn previous posts, we have reviewed the 10 Steps to Accurate Manual Blood Pressure Measurement and 10 Factors That Can Affect Blood Pressure Readings.  As important as these details are, accurate measurement also requires two things:

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Blood Pressure Monitoring and Infection Control

Electron microscope imageInfection control has long been a hot topic for acute-care hospitals, and has been the focus of patient advocacy groups, the popular press, and legislators for some time. Old stories of sponges and instruments being left inside patients by harried doctors and nurses have been supplanted by nightmarish scenarios containing ominous-sounding names like Clostridium difficile and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Unfortunately, for many patients in today's healthcare system, hypothetical scenarios and clinical studies have become a real matter of life and death. As a result, the spotlight is expanding to include other areas of the healthcare continuum-including long-term care facilities.

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Blood Pressure in your Medical Practice

SurveyThanks to the increasing concern regarding cardiovascular disease, blood pressure (BP) is one of the more well-known vital signs. Just about everyone has had their BP measured in a clinic. In the last few years, many track their own BP with the widespread availability and affordability of home monitors. Although experts in cardiology regard ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) as the gold standard, it is not as frequently used in regular medical practice as in-office or home BP.
Each method has its benefits and disadvantages.

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Physician Acquired Blood Pressure Measurement is Higher than Nurse Acquired BP

Doctor takes patient's blood pressureThere are several different types of mild and/or episodic hypertension that ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) can help a physician diagnose. However, the summary data that ABPM provides, the average daytime or 24-hour blood pressure as two examples, provides significantly different information than the one or two measurements taken in a clinic. Although this difference is one of the reasons that ABPM correlates better to cardiovascular outcomes than in-clinic BP, making it the gold standard for BP measurement, there are few detailed guidelines on the targets or thresholds for ABP like there are for in-clinic BPs like the popular 120/80 as a threshold for normal BP and 140/90 for hypertensive.*

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ASH 2010: A Focus on Improving Blood Pressure Measurement Technique

ASH logoAt the recent 25th annual scientific meeting for the American Society of Hypertension, there was a new program track targeted specifically to clinicians in primary care. The aim was to present the latest hypertension strategies and guidelines in a format that would be appropriate for the primary care physician but also for physician's assistants, nurse practitioners as well as seasoned hypertension specialists. While the session covered various current issues related to hypertension, one clear area of attention was a re-focus on blood pressure measurement methods.

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Damec Uses SunTech OEM NIBP Technology in Space

ABPM in the ISSSunTech Medical has had a long association with space research. Our first ambulatory blood pressure monitor, the Accutracker, and our stress BP monitor, Tango; have been used onboard the NASA space shuttle as far back as 1988. That association continued last year through an OEM partnership with advanced technology company, Damec.

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Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring

Dr. William White interview video

An interview with Dr. William White from the 25th American Society of Hypertension Scientific Meetings

Over the course of the most recent American Society of Hypertension (ASH) Meetings held in New York City May 1 - 4th, outgoing ASH President Henry Black, MD had an opportunity to interview incoming ASH President William White MD. While their discussion covered many topics related to blood pressure monitoring, the focus was on ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) and when and how to use it. This interview has been made available for viewing through WebMD's Medscape Cardiology page.

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International Hypertension Report Calls for Increased Awareness of Childhood Hypertension

Girl listening to teddy bears heartWe’ve already discussed how hypertension is a costly drain on worldwide health care systems and society in general, but this cost is only based on adult hypertension.  A recently published report advocates improving the awareness, identification, and treatment of pediatric hypertension and clearly describes the implications of continuing to neglect this problem in the pediatric population.  The prevalence of hypertension in children is about 3-5% of the population, but as obesity continues to rise in children, high blood pressure will likely increase making it even more important to raise the awareness of pediatric hypertension.

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CMEF 2010: China and Growing Awareness of Hypertension

SunTech Medical at CMEF 2010Earlier this year we wrote a blog post about the similarities of current healthcare challenges in both China and the US. Of particular note was the fact that Hypertension is the leading cause of premature deaths in China. We recently had an opportunity to meet and speak with many folks involved with the delivery of healthcare in this rapidly evolving market at the China Medical Equipment Fair (CMEF) held in Shenzhen April 18 - 21, 2010.

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Preeclampsia: Pregnancy and Hypertension

PreeclampsiaAn important health issue that expectant mothers may encounter during pregnancy is Preeclampsia, a condition in which the expectant mother is diagnosed with hypertension and has protein present in the urine.  Preeclampsia is the most common medical disorder of pregnancy and affects 10%-12% of all expectant mothers (Pickering et al, 2005).  Since blood pressure plays an important role in the health of mom and baby, accurate blood pressure measurement is extremely critical, because one would never want to be misdiagnosed with hypertension and be prescribed medications/medical interventions that could potentially injure both mom and baby.

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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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Blood Pressure Measurement and Dialysis

Dialysis Patient

Dialysis is a medical treatment that performs the job of well-functioning kidneys in ridding the body of waste and helping it to maintain a proper balance of water and minerals. In hemodialysis, this is done by pumping a patient's blood through a dialyzer where the blood is cleansed, and the clean blood is returned to the patient.1 For the over 350,000 US 2and 40,000 UK residents3 who have lost their kidneys and/or kidney function and partake in dialysis regularly, the procedure provides for and defines the normalcy of daily life.

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ABPM Reimbursement in the US

Stethoscope and moneyAs a follow-up to the previous post about hypertension neglect in the US, I wanted to provide a bit more information about ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM). As we've discussed in previous blog posts, ambulatory blood pressure monitoring is a commonly-used tool for the identification and treatment of hypertension. Many health care providers are still unaware that ABPM is a reimbursable procedure although Medicare approved reimbursement in 2001. Routine use of ABPM can serve as a source of revenue for physicians while also improving the quality of care for patients.


 

There are new guidelines for US ABPM Reimbursement.

Download the new copy today!

 

Get My Free US ABPM Reimbursement Guidelines

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Blood Pressure Fluctuations: 'Warning Sign for Stroke'

BP fluctuationsLast week we addressed a report from the Institute of Medicine indicating that high blood pressure is not on the minds of the general public. However, in the most recent issue of the Lancet, a different view of hypertension was posted: what if your physician is looking at the wrong BP values? What if there is more to clinic blood pressure, or the measurement that your physician takes, than the average value?

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Report Indicates US Neglects Hypertension

Hypertension

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report last week recommending strategies to address the "neglected disease" of hypertension in the US. Many people do not realize that high blood pressure is one of the leading causes of death in the US, and it is a risk factor for heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure. One in three US adults has hypertension, and less than half of them have it in control, resulting in an estimated cost of $76 billion in 2010.

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ABPM Used to Identify Masked Hypertension in Children with Chronic Kidney Disease

Masked hypertensionA recent article published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN)1 emphasizes the key role of 24 hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) as a means to identify masked hypertension in pediatric patients with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). The study, published in January 2010, showed that many children with CKD who have normal blood pressure readings at the doctor's office often have high blood pressure readings at home. The researchers used ABPM to collect blood pressure measurements throughout the day including periods of sleep and normal daily activity, which provides a more accurate BP profile for each pediatric patient.

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Back to the Basics of Blood Pressure

Blood pressureAlmost everyone knows that blood pressure is one of the most important measurements in medicine. Every time a patient visits a physician's office or hospital, one of the first measurements taken is their blood pressure. Since blood pressure plays such a vital role in monitoring a person's overall health, I thought I would write about the basics of blood pressure and some of the terminology used in blood pressure measurement.

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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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