Saturday, April 29, 2006

Theories for higher blood pressure readings

Apr 28 (HealthCentersOnline) - Measuring a patient's blood pressure immediately after they enter an exam room inflates the test results by an average of 14 points, according to a recent study.

The measurement of a patient's blood pressure is traditionally one of the first tests performed at the doctor's office. However, immediately taking a patient's blood pressure may not be the most accurate method.

A team of nurses from the University of Virginia Health System has determined that taking a blood pressure reading from a patient who has been resting in a chair for at least five minutes is the best way to obtain accurate results. Patients who have their blood pressure taken immediately after entering the exam room have test results that are 14 points higher, on average.

A 14-point difference is significant enough to misdiagnose a patient with a healthy blood pressure. A healthy blood pressure reading is considered to be 120/80, while the American Heart Association defines high blood pressure as 140/90 or greater.

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Publish Date: April 28, 2006

This makes sense.. There is another cause for elevated blood pressures in hospital and office settings. It's called the "white coat syndrome". The premise is that the patient gets nervous upon seeing the white coat on a practitioner and it automatically elevates their pressures. Patients pressures also elevate when they know that they are being discharged from the hospital. I have started having the techs take pressures "before" the patient is told that information. Seems to be helping... Click on the title to read the whole story...

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