Blood pressure monitoring during arrhythmia: agreement between automated brachial cuff and intra-arterial measurements

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BackgroundSince arrhythmia induces irregular pulse waves, it is widely considered to cause flawed oscillometric brachial cuff measurements of blood pressure (BP). However, strong data are lacking. We assessed whether the agreement of oscillometric measurements with intra-arterial measurements is worse during arrhythmia than during regular rhythm.MethodsAmong patients of three intensive care units (ICUs), a prospective comparison of three pairs of intra-arterial and oscillometric BP readings was performed among patients with arrhythmia and an arterial line already present. After each inclusion in the arrhythmia group, one patient with regular rhythm was included as a control. International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard validation required a mean bias <5 (SD 8) mm Hg.ResultsIn 135 patients with arrhythmia, the agreement between oscillometric and intra-arterial measurements of systolic, diastolic and mean BP was similar to that observed in 136 patients with regular rhythm: for mean BP, similar mean bias [−0.1 (SD 5.2) and 1.9 (SD 5.9) mm Hg]. In both groups, the ISO standard was satisfied for mean and diastolic BP, but not for systolic BP (SD >10 mm Hg) in our ICU population. The ability of oscillometry to detect hypotension (systolic BP <90 mm Hg or mean BP <65 mm Hg), response to therapy (>10% increase in mean BP after cardiovascular intervention) and hypertension (systolic BP >140 mm Hg) was good and similar during arrhythmia and regular rhythm (respective areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves ranging from 0.89 to 0.96, arrhythmia vs regular rhythm between-group comparisons all associated with P>0.3).ConclusionsContrary to widespread belief, arrhythmia did not cause flawed automated brachial cuff measurements.

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