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Wrist blood pressure monitors: Are they accurate?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/wrist-blood-pressure-monitors/AN01839
- With Mayo Clinic emeritus hypertension specialist
Sheldon G. Sheps, M.D.read biographyclose window
Sheldon G. Sheps, M.D.Sheldon Sheps, M.D.
Dr. Sheldon Sheps, emeritus professor of medicine and former chair of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension in the Department of Medicine at Mayo Clinic, has been with Mayo Clinic since 1960.
Dr. Sheps, a Winnipeg, Manitoba, native, is board certified in internal medicine and specializes in hypertension and peripheral vascular diseases. He developed a multidisciplinary approach with specially trained nurses, dietitians, technicians and educators to help form a team approach to the treatment of patients with abnormal blood pressure.
"I have always believed in involving the patient and family in their health care," Dr. Sheps says. "I have asked for their understanding of the illness and issues and for participation in decisions. The Web is a natural extension of that, and now many more people can be informed."
Dr. Sheps chaired the sixth working group, and he participated in the fourth, fifth and seventh groups that developed the then-latest guidelines for hypertension under the auspices of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). He helped write the latest American Heart Association (AHA) report on blood pressure measurement. He chaired an AHA group that produced an online accreditation for blood pressure measurement for health professionals.
Dr. Sheps has co-authored books, newsletters, CD-ROMs and other Mayo Clinic health information material. He joined Mayo Clinic's Web team in 1998. He was medical editor-in-chief of both editions of the "Mayo Clinic on High Blood Pressure" book; the last edition was published in 2003. He was also medical editor-in-chief of "Mayo Clinic 5 Steps to Controlling High Blood Pressure," published in 2008.
In addition, Dr. Sheps was section editor for each of the first three editions of "Hypertension Primer" for the American Heart Association.
Dr. Sheps was also chairman of the Science Base Subcommittee and the National High Blood Pressure Education Program, and he was a consultant to the Hypertension Initiative of the World Health Organization. In 1997, he was honored with the Individual Achievement Award on the 25th anniversary of the National High Blood Pressure Education Program of NHLBI. In 2009, he was honored as a Distinguished Mayo Alumnus.
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Wrist blood pressure monitors: Are they accurate?
How accurate are wrist blood pressure monitors?
from Sheldon G. Sheps, M.D.
Wrist blood pressure monitors can be accurate if used exactly as directed. However, according to the American Heart Association, it's best to use a home blood pressure monitor that measures blood pressure in your upper arm. Devices for the upper arm are also easier to check for accuracy than are wrist monitors.
Wrist blood pressure monitors are extremely sensitive to body position. To get an accurate reading when taking your blood pressure with a wrist monitor, your arm and wrist must be at heart level. Even then, blood pressure measurements taken at the wrist are usually higher and less accurate than those taken at your arm. That's because the wrist arteries are narrower and not as deep under your skin as those of the forearm.
Some people can't have their blood pressure measured at the upper arm because they have a very large arm or find blood pressure measurements painful. In these cases, measuring blood pressure at the wrist is acceptable.
It's not uncommon for blood pressure readings taken at home on any type of monitor to be different from those taken at your doctor's office. If you have a wrist blood pressure monitor, it's a good idea to take your monitor to a doctor's appointment. Your doctor can then check your blood pressure with both a standard upper arm monitor and a wrist monitor in the correct position in the same arm to check your wrist blood pressure monitor's accuracy.Next question
Free blood pressure machines: Are they accurate?
- Choosing a home blood pressure monitor. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/SymptomsDiagnosisMonitoringofHighBloodPressure/Choosing-a-Home-Blood-Pressure-Monitor_UCM_303322_Article.jsp. Accessed April 18, 2012.
- Schell KA, et al. The effects of anatomical structures on adult forearm and upper arm noninvasive blood pressures. Blood Pressure Monitoring. 2007;12:17.
- Domiano KL, et al. Comparison of upper arm and forearm blood pressure. Clinical Nursing Research. 2008;17:241.
- Ogedegbe G, et al. Principles and techniques of blood pressure measurement. Cardiology Clinics. 2010;28:571.
- Sheps SG (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 19, 2012.