Errors in Images Depicting BP Measurement - No Wonder You’re Doing It Wrong!

Two years ago, we published a blog titled, “You’re Doing It Wrong: New Study on BP Measurement." This post came about after a group of researchers assessed BP measurement technique at a large academic health science center and their results indicated that most clinicians are - simply put - doing it wrong.

While recently attending the 2014 Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society of Hypertension (ASH), we learned of a new study1 by Drs. Clarence and Carlene Grim. Their research assessed the accuracy of BP measurement technique in online articles that included videos or photographs of BP testing. Their study, “ Blood pressure measurement is almost never shown being done correctly in TV/print news reports, or online reports/sources regarding BP news stories, reports that the majority of online images and videos depicting BP measurement were depicting people that were doing what? You guessed it - doing it wrong.

In fact, one Google search performed by a contributing researcher showed that only 1 out of 100 images represented BP measurement being performed correctly. That’s 1% for the mathematically challenged. So, heads shaking in wonder, we can now only say - no wonder most people are doing it wrong!

Are you wondering which were the most common infractions found in stock images? Well, we were too! When we tested this theory ourselves, there were simply too many to compile into one list, but the following list includes the top 5 technique errors our marketing team found most frequently in stock images and photography. And yes, we admit - we’ve even fallen victim to this once before ourselves!

  1. A patient sitting on a table while having BP measured
    Proper technique: If sitting during BP assessment, a patient’s back and arm should be fully supported.
  2. A patient with a cuff that is clearly too large or too small
    Proper technique: Selecting the appropriate cuff size is critical to ensure an accurate BP reading.
  3. A patient with the cuff not placed properly
    Proper technique: To gain an accurate BP, the cuff must be placed properly on the brachial artery.
  4. A patient who appears to be laughing or talking during BP measurement
    Proper technique: A patient should sit quietly and not talk with provider when having BP taken.
  5. A patient with his/her arm too low or too high
    Proper technique: A patient’s arm should be on a flat surface and at heart level.