Do You Recommend Home BP Monitoring to Your Patients?

June 01, 2017

To follow patients with hypertension, many clinicians ask their patients to use a home blood pressure (BP) monitoring kit. However, one small study suggests that these devices don't provide accurate information.

A study from the University of Alberta in Canada compared patients' own home BP device readings with office measurements and found that about 70% of the time, the home device was off by at least 5 mm Hg, and 30% of the time, it was off by at least 10 mm Hg. Home monitors were most inaccurate with systolic BP, and larger discrepancies were seen with men.

Arm size and sex were the main predictors of a systolic BP difference. Older age, larger arm circumference, hard cuff design, and older device models were linked with diastolic BP discrepancy. Age and stiffness of blood vessels led to significant overall differences if the monitor wasn't calibrated for the patient using it, the study authors said, adding that there can be substantial error even in devices that have been tested in a validation study.

In a related Medscape commentary, Dr Arefa Cassoobhoy pointed out that patients should purchase validated devices and use the proper-size cuff. In addition, a check against office measurement is a good idea.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.
Post as: