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Advice from the BP Measurement Experts

High Blood Pressure and COVID-19

NOTE: COVID-19 is an evolving public health emergency. The following information is based on currently available guidance, however, is it not intended to replace guidance from state and local health authorities or your doctor. Always consult your doctor for any health questions you may have.

It can be hard to stay on top of all the news about the coronavirus pandemic and the various symptoms and risk factors. How is blood pressure related to the risk of COVID-19? Should I keep taking my blood pressure medications? Is it too risky to go to the doctor or hospital during the pandemic? SunTech Medical, the leader in blood pressure technology and solutions, has put together the following resources to help you answer those questions and more.

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New SunTech ABPM Reimbursement FAQ for 2020

 

doctor on laptop

Revisions to CMS guidelines on ABPM reimbursement make it the perfect time to offer 24-hour out-of-office blood pressure measurement to your patients. For more information on reimbursement, see our 2020 ABPM Reimbursement FAQ.

 

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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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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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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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Insights from AAEP 2018 (American Association of Equine Practitioners Conference)

 

Horse with Woman Rider in Field

SunTech announced just last week that a new veterinary blood pressure algorithm is under development. This new algorithm will be fine-tuned for equine physiology and will offer a non-invasive way to measure blood pressure on horses. To make the announcement, SunTech exhibited at the 64th Annual Convention of the American Association of Equine Practitioners in San Francisco. I had the opportunity to attend the convention with the primary goal of better understanding how veterinarians use and measure blood pressure today in their equine patients.

 

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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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World Heart Day 2018

 

heart day 2018

September 29th is World Heart Day and the World Heart Federation is letting you share your activity on their worldwide map. Whether you are running for someone you know, spreading awareness or just getting your blood pressure checked, let the world know at world-heart-federation.org.

 

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Today is National Dog Day

 

Happy Dog playing with caregiver

To celebrate National Dog Day and to promote canine health, we took a look at some of the most common causes of hypertension in dogs

 

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4 Ways to Keep Your Cat Healthy and Happy

 

Happy Cat getting attention from owner

In honor of International Cat Day, we’ve put together a list of the easiest things any cat owner can do to make sure their cat is as healthy and happy as possible.

 

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