Incorrect Testing May Alter Readings
Individuals taking their blood pressure at home may need a tutorial. A study of 80 Canadians using digital blood pressure monitorsfound that 90% of them were not aware that they should rest for at least 2 minutes before taking a reading. The researchers alsolearned that only half knew to place the cuff just above the elbow, and 70% did not realize that how they sit could alter the reading.
Thomas Wilson, MD, a professor of medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, said that a patient's back should be supported,with the legs uncrossed and the arm resting at heart level. If taken incorrectly, the readings may be too high or too low, and the patientmay receive the wrong dose of medication or none at all, he added. (The findings were presented October 25, 2004, at the CanadianCardiovascular Congress in Calgary, Alberta.)