A recent study published in eClinicalMedicine investigated the differences between routine clinical care and the American Heart Association (AHA) recommended technique for blood pressure (BP) measurement. The results highlighted the importance of adhering to the AHA guidelines in order to obtain accurate BP readings and improve the diagnosis, treatment, and management of conditions, particularly hypertension (HTN).
The AHA has outlined specific protocols for obtaining accurate BP measurements, including using the appropriate cuff size, having the patient seated with their feet flat on the floor and back supported, and positioning the cuff at heart level. The AHA also recommends lower thresholds for diagnosing and treating HTN compared to previous clinical standards. However, in routine clinical care, healthcare professionals often do not adhere to these guidelines, potentially leading to misdiagnosis of HTN.
The study recruited 150 participants and randomly assigned them to different study groups. The participants’ BP readings were taken using different methods, including taking readings on an examination table and on an exam chair with adjustable positioning. The results showed that BP readings taken on the examination table were significantly higher compared to those taken on the chair, regardless of the order of measurement.
This finding supports previous research that has shown the negative effects of improper positioning during BP measurement. Adhering to the AHA-guided protocol can decrease the misdiagnosis of HTN, potentially saving patients from unnecessary pharmacological treatment or intense clinical follow-up. It also has financial implications, as healthcare costs for adults with HTN in the United States are significantly higher than those for nonhypertensive individuals.
In conclusion, this study emphasizes the importance of following the AHA guidelines for obtaining accurate BP measurements. Adhering to these guidelines can lead to improved diagnosis, treatment, and management of various conditions, especially HTN. Implementing these guidelines is a simple and cost-effective solution that can benefit millions of patients.
Journal reference: eClinicalMedicine, “Comparison of outcomes for routine versus American Heart Association-recommended technique for blood pressure measurement (CORRECT BP): a randomised cohort study”