Techniques for Self-Measurement of Blood Pressure: Limitations and Needs for Future Research

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Abstract

Self blood pressure measurement (SBPM) improves the overall management of hypertension provided it is implemented with methodologic care. This concerns especially the accuracy and technical requirements of blood pressure (BP) measuring devices that should be validated according to internationally accepted protocols. The use of memory-equipped automatic home monitors is strongly recommended because they reduce observer bias, avoid patients' misreporting, and allow fully automatic analysis by software. For current use, simple software should be worked out that allow for analysis of readings in an objective manner. Miscuffing is also a frequent source of measurement error in obese arms when oscillometric devices are used. Modern automatic devices can overcome this problem because of special software algorithms that can provide accurate measurements over a wide range of arm circumferences when coupled with a single cuff of standard dimensions. Tronco-conical–shaped cuffs are a key component of this instrumentation because they better fit on large conical arms frequently present in obese individuals. Semi-rigid cuffs should be increasingly used because they ensure that the proper amount of tension is applied without the intervention of the user. Continuous technology improvement of instrumentation for SBPM can be achieved through close cooperation between manufacturers and validation centers.

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