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Are Wrist Blood Pressure Monitors Accurate?

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Wrist blood pressure monitor

When we picture someone having their blood pressure taken, we normally envision a doctor or a nurse taking the reading with the assistance of an upper arm blood pressure cuff. Indeed, this remains the most popular way of taking blood pressure readings in the UK.

Some patients, particularly those whose condition requires them to take regular readings over a period of time, favour the wrist blood pressure monitor, and it’s easy to see why. They are simple to attach and detach, easy to read, and much more accessible than their upper arm equivalents.

But are they accurate?

The answer is a rather unsatisfying: “it depends.”

Certainly, under most patient studies, a wrist blood pressure monitor is not as accurate as an upper arm blood pressure reader, but there is every indication that this has little to do with the device itself.

In order to take an accurate reading, blood pressure is measured on level with the heart. When using an upper arm sleeve, the reader is in the right position by default. Devices like the Omron RS2, being used on the wrist, need to be elevated to the correct position to get an accurate readout. Likewise, the readings from a wrist blood pressure monitor like the Omron RS8 can sometimes be out because the arteries at the wrist are thinner than those in the upper arm.

So, is there any reason to favour wrist blood pressure monitors over upper arm blood pressure tubes? Well, yes. As discussed, they can be more easily used at home, provided that the patient understands the importance of correct positioning. More importantly, some people are unable to use an upper arm blood pressure reader. Patients with very large arms, for instance, might be better served with a wrist device like the A&D UB-511. Similarly, some patients – those with breast cancer, for instance – find traditional blood pressure sleeves to be uncomfortable or painful to use.

At Four Square Healthcare, we have a number of wrist blood pressure monitors available to order online, all benefiting from fast UK delivery. Remember, all NHS-funded GP surgeries, NHS Hospitals or Trusts, and UK Police forces automatically qualify for a 30-day credit account.