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Blood Pressure Readings: Stethoscopes and Human Error

littmann cardiology III stethoscopeDuring the process of measuring blood pressure it is possible that various distractions or mechanical failure will cause the wrong readings to be recorded.

The Stethoscope

Those who choose to use the traditional sphygmanometer rely on their own hearing to detect the moment the pulse stops then begins whilst trying to hear it through a stethoscope,/font>.

Of course it would be unfair to tar all users with the same brush but consider the impact of age and the quality of hearing when you next see someone popping the ear pieces in to use their stethoscope.

Recent findings revealed that many nurses used the diaphragm of the stethoscope, but should use the bell.

Littmann Cardiology Stethoscopes Recommended

If this old method of measuring blood pressure must be carried out it is recommended that a top of the range Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope is used as it has excellent sensitivity and more likely to allow the user to record the precise stop and start of the pulse whilst taking blood pressure readings.

You and Your Blood Pressure

Encouraging Home Blood Pressure Monitoring

UK health awareness organisations are urging more health professionals to support home blood pressure monitoring as an additional way of keeping an eye on patients’ blood pressure.

Home monitoring can be a great way to help people with high blood pressure feel more in control of their condition,

It enables them to keep track of their blood pressure between visits to their doctor or nurse and also helps them to see what effect lifestyle changes and taking their medication are having.

Self-checking is a great way to keep a track of your blood pressure between checks by a medical professional.

Using a monitor at home may also show whether your readings are higher in the doctor’s surgery than at home (known as hypertension – white coat effect).

Many people with high blood pressure find that home monitoring helps them to feel more in control of their condition. If you have high blood pressure, talk to your doctor before starting home monitoring so that they can be part of the process.

How you measure your blood pressure can affect the accuracy of results. To help, the you can read the following guidelines on measuring your blood pressure at home.

How to choose a blood pressure monitor

Many blood pressure monitors are available but make sure you choose one that is clinically validated. Such monitors have been shown in trials to give accurate results.

The British Hypertension Society publishes a list of clinically validated blood pressure monitors.

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