Enlarge / Woman measuring her blood pressure. (credit: Getty | BSIP)
Millions of people stand to benefit from closely monitoring their blood pressure—those suffering with heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and pregnancy-induced hypertension, for instance, plus those who just stress in doctors’ offices and can’t get accurate readings. Yet the gadgets available for home use may not be up to the task.
In a study out this week, about 70 percent of home blood-pressure devices tested were off by 5 mmHg or more.

That’s enough to throw off clinical decisions, such as stopping or starting medication. Nearly 30 percent were off by 10 mmHg or more, including many devices that had been validated by regulatory agencies.

The findings, published in the American Journal of Hypertension, suggests that consumers should be cautious about picking out and using such devices—and device manufacturers need to step up their game.
“We were a little surprised to see 70 percent,” lead author Raj Padwal told Ars.

Dr. Padwal is a professor of medicine at the University of Alberta. He and his colleagues went into the study expecting to find problems with some devices, he admitted. “We thought maybe it would be 40 maybe—maybe 50—but 70 was a lot.

That was disappointing.”
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