Caption: Exemplar blood pressure monitor (courtesy of www.ohgizmo.com)
A new study done by doctors at Ottawa Hospital is alerting people that their home blood pressure monitors may be inaccurate.
Guidelines typically recommend home blood pressure monitors to guide diagnosis and treatment of patients with hypertension. What the study concluded, however, is that many people know very little about the accuracy of the devices they use. To determine the devices’ accuracy, researchers compared measurements from home blood monitors with validated mercury sphygmomanometers (used in doctors’ offices). Comparing the data from 210 patients, investigators found that 63 of the home monitor systolic blood pressure readings had more than a 5mm Hg difference from the mercury systolic blood pressure measurement. An additional 16 units had more than 10mm Hg different. Diastolic blood pressures had proportions of 32% and 9%, respectively.