Advice from the BP Measurement Experts
Blood Pressure Basics
Taking a patient’s blood pressure has become a routine practice for medical staff. Unfortunately, training in this area is often met with a very high-level overview and is sometimes neglected in regards to the overall mechanics of manual or automated methods in accurate blood pressure measurement techniques.
Research has proven that ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) is the best way to determine true blood pressure available to physicians today. Results from an ABPM device will always 1 provide a level of insight unavailable with other forms of blood pressure measurement. However, there are eight situations in which ABPM is especially useful in providing accurate readings to properly diagnose hypertension.
This past week my colleague, Jacinta McGlone, and I visited the Wake County SPCA located in Raleigh, NC. While there, we spoke with Staff Veterinarian Dr. Anna Boswell and Medical Assistant Allison Baker at the shelter. These ladies provided us valuable information on their ongoing battle to save countless animals' lives.
For many of us, the holiday season means changes to our home; including packages with ribbons and bows, lit candles, new plants & decorations and large gatherings of people. Remember to consider the impact on the four-legged and furry members of your family. With that in mind, we have created a resource that is designed to ensure your pets have a safe and happy holiday season. Take a look and let us know what you think in the comments section.
A blood pressure check is one of the first procedures done when you go to the doctor. So it should be no surprise that your veterinarian will likely check your pet’s blood pressure, too!
It is becoming more and more common for vets to regularly check blood pressure at every checkup. However, many pet owners do not realize that their pet’s blood pressure is constantly changing in response to many factors. Being aware of these factors and ensuring that your pet is comfortable in its environment will help the vet to get the most accurate blood pressure reading. Here is a list of 5 factors that may cause significant changes in your pet’s blood pressure:
Diagnosing and treating hypertension is serious business, and as research shows, ABPM is far superior to other testing available to clinicians. ABPM provides valuable diagnostic information that in-clinic and home blood pressure monitoring systems are incapable of measuring including:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 70 million American adults have high blood pressure—that’s 1 in every 3 adults. More alarming is that only about half (52%) of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control.
With those overwhelming numbers, it goes without saying that raising awareness about how to reduce hypertension – with or without medication – is critical.
How Low Should Blood Pressure Go?
When it comes to blood pressure guidelines, it’s a question cardiologists have puzzled over for years – just how low should blood pressure go? Well, according to articles released by nearly every major news outlet, including The New York Times, US News & World Report, FOX News and NBC News, federal health officials have declared they have “potentially lifesaving information” as a result of a recent major study – one that they are ending a year early because it has already conclusively answered this question.
Taking a blood pressure on a companion animal is very different than what you experience at the doctor’s office. You can’t tell a dog or cat to sit still and be quiet throughout the entire blood pressure measurement and actually expect it to happen. It’s more similar to trying to take an infant’s BP, except these wiggly patients have fur!
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!
For accuracy purposes, some diagnostic tests require a little preparation on your part. So, what do you need to do before you have a cardiac stress test? According to a recent publication by the Heart and Vascular Team at the Cleveland Clinic, the following tips are good to know before you step on the treadmill:
No clinician would argue that blood pressure measurement is an important part of most patient consultations. But an increasing body of clinical evidence seems to indicate that improper blood pressure technique is fairly common.
In an effort to contribute to the conversation of proper blood pressure technique, we’ve created a clinical training video unlike any other. It’s entertaining and funny, but also grounded in the best practices supported by the American Heart Association and the latest clinical research.
If you enjoy watching, feel free to pass it along to any clinical professional who measures blood pressure. Share it! Tweet it! But at the very least…make sure you watch it!
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 67 million American adults (31%) have high blood pressure – that’s 1 out of every 3 adults. Depending upon the severity of the condition, typically diagnosed by in-office BP measurements, blood pressure medication and/or lifestyle modifications may be prescribed.
Although in-office BP measurements are typically used to diagnose hypertension, several studies have shown that other diagnostic options are far more reliable - specifically, the use of a 24-hour, ambulatory blood pressure monitoring device (ABPM).
Let’s be honest, a cardiac stress test can be just that – stressful! So how do physicians know when it’s appropriate to use this as a way to evaluate how well a patient’s heart is handling its workload? Well, it’s actually by considering a few different factors. Is the patient healthy enough to walk on a treadmill or bike on an ergometer? What if the patient presents healthy, yet there is a family history of heart disease? After evaluating those parameters, the question then becomes which type of stress test [see previous blog] should the patient actually undergo? The good news - there may now be further guidance for physicians when it comes to making this decision, specifically for males who are at risk.
Healthcare Mobile Apps – there are certainly no shortage of them, and they cover just about every area of health care you can think of, including mobile blood pressure measurement. According to a recent online article published by Medical News Today, more than 500 million smartphone users worldwide will be using a health app within the next year. And the FDA has certainly taken notice of this growing trend, recently clarifying that only a very specific group of health apps are actually validated in accordance with their guidelines and regulated under their governance.
When it comes to patient safety in stress labs, opinions run the gamut as to which clinicians actually need to be in the room during a cardiac stress test. Historically, it has been considered best practice to always have a physician present as those being tested are typically thought to be at risk of having some type of potential cardiovascular disease. And let’s face it – wouldn’t you want your doctor in the room in case something went wrong? But in today’s struggling economy, even stress labs are looking for ways to cut costs, and having a non-physician supervise a stress test if the patient is considered lower risk has become common practice.
A vast amount of physicians are diagnosing hypertension without properly assessing a patient’s blood pressure during the course of a 24-hour period using Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring. Simply put, ABPM provides valuable diagnostic information that in-clinic and home blood pressure monitoring systems are incapable of measuring including:
Believe it or not, your pet can have high blood pressure too! That being said, the significance of this is a bit different than it would be for you and me. Hypertension in cats and dogs is almost always secondary, which means it is caused by an underlying condition or disease. Because secondary hypertension is a signal that something else is wrong, blood pressure screening is a great way to discover other health issues in your pet such as acute kidney disease or hyperthyroidism. BP screening can help to prevent serious organ damage if a condition or disease is caught in its early stages.
With all of the attention being given to the need for hospitals to reduce the occurrence of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in their facilities, should we be equally concerned about the outpatient facilities that work in conjunction with these health systems? The answer is a resounding “yes,” and these outpatient facilities find themselves working with the same diligence to find products that will help lower their incidence of these unwanted, costly, and often, dangerous infections.