HOME BLOOD PRESSURE MONITORS MAY BE INACCURATE
Over-dependence on a single device for health checkup could be fatal.
Ram Narayan, (not his real name) a middle aged small businessman was suffering from high blood pressure (BP) and was prescribed a tablet to be taken at 10 am and to keep a record of his BP every day in the morning by his family doctor.
As it was very inconvenient to visit a dispensary, for measuring his BP at this hour, he purchased a Digital Blood Pressure Monitor (DBPM) of a wellknown brand and used it to measure his BP.
On the next visit, his doctor was happy to see the record and reduced the dose. But on the next visit, his BP was found to be very high. His doctor measured the BP with his mercury BP meter and found it high. He then measured the BP with the Ram Narayan’s DBPM and much to his surprise found the BP lower than his observation.
Many people, especially those suffering with heart disease, diabetes, kidney disorders and pregnancy-induced hypertension, in India use home DBPMs to closely watch their blood pressure. In addition, many people who suffer from white coat hyper tension (high blood pressure [BP]) use them. The BP of such persons increases abnormally in presence of a doctor wearing a white coat. However, all of them believe that the readings are correct and give a true picture of their blood pressure.
But this is far from truth. According to Dr Padwal, a professor of Medicine at the University of Alberta in the USA, about 70 percent of home blood-pressure monitors tested by his team were off by 5 millimetres of Mercury (mmHg) or more.
That’s enough for physicians treating the patient to stop or start or mod-