Blood pressure should be checked in both arms

By Gillian Tsoi

Patients with high blood pressure (BP) who have different BP readings in each arm have less chance of survival over 10 years, according to a new study.

The researchers say that guidelines advising doctors to measure BP in both arms in many patients are not being  followed.

They stress that measuring BP in both arms should become a routine part of care and treatment.

Experts say different BP readings in each arm can predict reduced survival and are linked to an increased chance of death over five years.

Authors at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry looked at 230 patients between 1999 and 2002. All patients suffered from high BP and were patients at a practice in rural Devon in south-west England.

After adjustments were made for age and sex, the results showed a 9% increase in risk of death for every one mmHg (millimetre of mercury BP measurement) between-arm differences in blood pressure.

The researchers say 'inter-arm difference' is a simple indicator of increased heart disease risk.

They say measurement of blood pressure in both arms should become a 'core component' of GP treatment of high blood pressure.

The research is published on bmj.com.

 


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