We recently came across an article reporting on a man in Grand Forks, North Dakota, who is so upset about the erroneously high readings from his new BP monitor that he spent three days protesting outside the store he purchased it from*.
Alarmed at getting a high reading on his new WrisTech blood pressure monitor, the man went to see his doctor—but when the doctor took a manual reading in the office, it wasn’t as high as the WrisTech device indicated. Now, this man’s experience with a home BP device is certainly not uncommon, although perhaps his response was! But there are some words of caution (taken from previous posts on this blog) that we would offer to anyone who has experienced something similar. First, BP is constantly changing in response to emotions, environment, body position and other influences. Second, the accuracy of wrist BP monitors has long been documented as questionable at best.
We are, however, encouraged by the fact that this man went on to do some research comparing his wrist BP monitor to others and found it was consistently reading higher. What might have helped him, or anyone else in a similar situation, is to look specifically for a BP monitor that has been granted 510(k) approval by the FDA for sale in the U.S., and has been clinically validated to other internationally recognized standards before making a purchase decision. A list of such devices can be found at the dabl Educational Trust website.
Another conversation worth having—perhaps in a future blog post—is when considering the time and cost incurred by the rigorous clinical testing to prove accuracy according to domestic and international standards, what should one expect from a BP monitor that costs $19.99?
* A paid subscription to the publication is required to read the full article.
(photo: Copyright 2010 Grand Forks Herald http://www.grandforksherald.com)