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Arm Position May Alter Blood Pressure Readings

Blood pressure readings taken on arms parallel to the body, are up to 10 percent higher than readings taken when the elbow is at a right angle to the body with elbow flexed at heart level, according to a new study. A previously published study found that 73 percent of health care workers failed to use proper arm positions (with slightly flexed elbow and held at heart level) and blood pressure cuff positions when taking readings. It appears that a significant amount of people may be receiving altered blood pressure readings, as I posted a study almost six months ago that found obese patients may be wrongly diagnosed as hypertensive because the arm cuffs used to measure their blood pressure are the wrong size. You can review Dr. Paul Rosch's recent review of blood pressure for further information.

EurekAlert January 7, 2004

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