Medical students, do you know how to measure blood pressure correctly?

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ObjectiveThe aim of this study was to estimate the level of knowledge of the blood pressure (BP) measurement technique among medical students.Materials and methodsA total of 791 students in the fourth and the final, sixth year were recruited at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Belgrade, before the start of compulsory practical sessions in the classrooms, during the period 2–9 December 2013. Data were collected using questionnaires on the technique of BP measurement according to the existing guidelines.ResultsThe least correct answers among students of both years were related to the fact that the stethoscope membrane should not be placed under the cuff (13.5% fourth year and 19.4% sixth year students). The highest proportion of correct answers (97.5%) in the fourth year was related to the fact that BP should be measured twice during patient examination. By the sixth year, however, most students (96.6%) knew that previous physical activity may cause an increase in the values of BP. With respect to whether or not the students were shown how to measure the BP properly in classes, 54.9% of fourth-year and 52.5% sixth-year students agreed or strongly agreed with this statement (χ2=0.461, P=0.497). No correlation was established between the knowledge score and self-perceived confidence in measuring BP (ρ=0.062, P=0.211).ConclusionThe theoretical background of the BP measurement technique varies among students in both years. The correct means of BP measurement should be elaborated thoroughly, with the aim of preventing misconceptions and misdiagnosis of hypertension.

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