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Advice from the BP Measurement Experts

The Role of ABPM in Diagnosing Hypertension

Mature Man being consulted by a Physician

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) Weighs In

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 67 million American adults (31%) have high blood pressure – that’s 1 out of every 3 adults. Depending upon the severity of the condition, typically diagnosed by in-office BP measurements, blood pressure medication and/or lifestyle modifications may be prescribed.

Although in-office BP measurements are typically used to diagnose hypertension, several studies have shown that other diagnostic options are far more reliable - specifically, the use of a 24-hour, ambulatory blood pressure monitoring device (ABPM).

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Cardiac Stress Tests Help Predict the Future

Picture of Heart in a Crystal Ball being held by a hand.

Let’s be honest, a cardiac stress test can be just that – stressful! So how do physicians know when it’s appropriate to use this as a way to evaluate how well a patient’s heart is handling its workload? Well, it’s actually by considering a few different factors. Is the patient healthy enough to walk on a treadmill or bike on an ergometer? What if the patient presents healthy, yet there is a family history of heart disease? After evaluating those parameters, the question then becomes which type of stress test [see previous blog] should the patient actually undergo? The good news - there may now be further guidance for physicians when it comes to making this decision, specifically for males who are at risk.

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Mobile Healthcare Apps: Good or Bad?

Picture of Mobile Phone with Internet and Networking Concept Art

Healthcare Mobile Apps – there are certainly no shortage of them, and they cover just about every area of health care you can think of, including mobile blood pressure measurement. According to a recent online article published by Medical News Today, more than 500 million smartphone users worldwide will be using a health app within the next year. And the FDA has certainly taken notice of this growing trend, recently clarifying that only a very specific group of health apps are actually validated in accordance with their guidelines and regulated under their governance.

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When Physicians Should Be Present for Stress Testing

Picture of young woman on a treadmill performing a stress test under the supervision of a doctor.

When it comes to patient safety in stress labs, opinions run the gamut as to which clinicians actually need to be in the room during a cardiac stress test. Historically, it has been considered best practice to always have a physician present as those being tested are typically thought to be at risk of having some type of potential cardiovascular disease. And let’s face it – wouldn’t you want your doctor in the room in case something went wrong? But in today’s struggling economy, even stress labs are looking for ways to cut costs, and having a non-physician supervise a stress test if the patient is considered lower risk has become common practice.

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Do I REALLY Need Treatment for Hypertension?

Picture of a various pills forming the shape of a question mark.

Were You Properly Diagnosed?

A vast amount of physicians are diagnosing hypertension without properly assessing a patient’s blood pressure during the course of a 24-hour period using Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring. Simply put, ABPM provides valuable diagnostic information that in-clinic and home blood pressure monitoring systems are incapable of measuring including:

  • BP variability and a more accurate estimation of true blood pressure
  • Overnight changes in blood pressure (dipper status)
  • Morning surges in blood pressure
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Does My Pet Have High Blood Pressure?

Picture of a Golden Retreiver with Owner in a Park

Believe it or not, your pet can have high blood pressure too! That being said, the significance of this is a bit different than it would be for you and me. Hypertension in cats and dogs is almost always secondary, which means it is caused by an underlying condition or disease. Because secondary hypertension is a signal that something else is wrong, blood pressure screening is a great way to discover other health issues in your pet such as acute kidney disease or hyperthyroidism. BP screening can help to prevent serious organ damage if a condition or disease is caught in its early stages.

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HAIs Are On The Outs With Outpatient Facilities

Picture of a Doctor holding a chalkboard that says Stop HAIs

With all of the attention being given to the need for hospitals to reduce the occurrence of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in their facilities, should we be equally concerned about the outpatient facilities that work in conjunction with these health systems? The answer is a resounding “yes,” and these outpatient facilities find themselves working with the same diligence to find products that will help lower their incidence of these unwanted, costly, and often, dangerous infections.

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Complete Product Registration & You Might Just Get A Raise!

Picture of a Finger pressing a Register Button

We all see the card that comes with our new gadget, encouraging us to register our product online, and give it a furtive glance. But many times, that gets quickly forgotten or put into the ever-mounting pile of “to dos” that you will get to in your “free time.” Rather than list all of the reasons that product registration is important, here is what I intended to be a clever way of reviewing the benefits of completing this process…

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Kiosk Users Get Advice from FDA on Accuracy of BP Measurement

Illustration of a Blood Pressure Monitoring Kiosk

Do you ever see a kiosk that measures blood pressure (BP) and take a seat to see how you fare? Well, make sure you are aware of the latest information regarding accuracy of kiosk BP measurements. On June 24, 2014, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a consumer update for blood pressure monitoring kiosks. In this update, users are advised that blood pressure cuffs on public kiosks do not fit everyone and consequently, may not provide accurate BP readings for every user. Luke Herbertson PhD, Biomedical Engineer at the FDA stated, “[BP kiosks] are easily accessible and easy to use. But it’s misleading to think that the devices are appropriate for everybody. They are not one-size-fits-all.” Users with arm circumferences outside of the cuff range may receive inaccurate BP values.

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Central Blood Pressure Measurement: Clinical Relevancy

Illustration of the Human Heart with the European Society of Hypertension Logo

Central aortic blood pressure (BP) measurement was a hot topic at the European Society of Hypertension (ESH) and International Society of Hypertension (ISH) 2014 Joint Meeting a few weeks ago in Athens, Greece. Most notable amongst these was the debate as to whether central BP measurements are relevant for everyday clinical practice. It’s only logical to conclude that large clinical trials are necessary prior to arguing convincingly either way - we simply need more data. However, as someone who supports the development and utilization of technological advancements, I tend to believe that there is a place in clinical practice for these contemporary characterizations of cardiovascular health.

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Errors in Manual BP Readings make Automated the Way to Go!

Manual Sphygmomanometer and Cuff

So for the last 100+ years, clinicians have been using the auscultatory method for determining a patient’s blood pressure. This method is used every day to determine if a patient needs medication or some other clinical intervention for high blood pressure. Performed correctly, it’s considered by many in the profession to be the ‘gold standard’ for measuring blood pressure. But it’s that phrase ‘performed correctly’ that’s the kicker.

A recent policy statement from the World Hypertension League calls into question the accuracy of many auscultatory BP measurements taken today. Huh? If it’s worked for over one hundred years, how is it possible that auscultatory measurements are now being deemed inaccurate?

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

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.

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JNC 8 BP Guidelines: To Treat or Not to Treat Hypertension?

JNC 8 BP Guidelines: To Treat or Not to Treat Hypertension?

As word gets out about the controversial blood pressure guideline changes published by the Eighth Joint National Committee (JNC 8), the big question for clinicians is “what impact does this have on how we treat patients?” Fortunately, Duke University researchers are looking into this for you. An April 2014 JAMA analysis states that almost 6 million Americans currently taking BP medications might be able to throw them away based on new guidelines and another 13.5 million previously-diagnosed patients with uncontrolled hypertension now meet healthy blood pressure benchmarks.

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Healthcare Associated Infections Reduced Under Pressure

7 Reasons to Use Disposable BP Cuffs Infographic

We all know it’s necessary, often put it off, sometimes dread it, but eventually – we give in…and schedule our annual physical. After we have been properly weighed and measured, so to speak, we are left to await the arrival of our physician. Following the staccato knock indicating the doctor is entering, he dutifully washes his hands and offers a friendly hello. Long after the disposable protector is removed from the thermometer and forgotten in the trash, he reviews the chart for any obvious issues. Dutifully applying the disposable protector to his otoscope, our ears, eyes and nose are all given a sufficient look. Stethoscope wiped with the appropriate sanitizer, our hearts get a good listen. Hopefully, we soon go home with a clean bill of health and the intention of shedding a few pounds before next year’s appointment.

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Guidelines Galore

ASH ISH release new GuidelinesIn previous blogs, we have talked about the publication of new guidelines related to the treatment of hypertension such as the ESH/ESC Guidelines for the Management of Arterial Hypertension (available here). At the end of 2013, two additional guidelines were published; one from the Eighth Joint National Committee (JNC 8) and the other as a result of a joint effort by the American Society of Hypertension (ISH).

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Relax...Tips for Accurate Cardiac Stress BP Measurement

Audio Series by SunTech MedicalWhen most people have their blood pressure (BP) taken, it’s typically done by a clinician in a physician’s office. A past blog post - 10 Factors That Can Affect Your BP Reading– discusses several factors which may influence your BP reading during these visits, which are usually conducted under routine or “normal” conditions. But what if you are having your BP taken under different circumstances such as during a cardiac stress test or ABPM study? Do these same factors still apply?


Well, yes and no. Accurate cuff size and placement are still critical; however, as a result of the motion and noise introduced during these tests, not all of the 10 factors still apply. For example, during a cardiac stress test, your body will be ‘stressed’ on purpose. It will be necessary for you to talk to your clinician about how you feel throughout the course of the assessment. Additionally, you will not have any support other than the bar of the treadmill or the Ergometer and there are not any significant ‘rest times’ between measurements. So, how do you collect an accurate BP in an environment such as this?

Follow these simple tips:

  • Relax the arm on which the BP cuff has been placed
  • Do not grip the bar of the treadmill or Ergometer
  • Stand up straight – no leaning on the rail
  • Follow instructions carefully for when cuff inflates

To request a free, digital copy with a complete list of tips, simply click the button below to get one today! (Available in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Czech, Polish, Dutch, Brazilian Portuguese, Turkish, Chinese, and Japanese)

 

 

 

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The Material World of BP Cuffs

The Material World of BP CuffsSo what’s in a fabric?  And why do manufacturers come up with so many choices?

Choosing the correct fabrics for medical products can be a bit more complicated than selecting the right material for a pair of jeans. Medical device manufacturers spend a lot of time considering things like where the product will be used, how often it will be used, what it will be cleaned with, who will be using it and how it interacts with human tissue.

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You Want to do What with That?

You Want to do What with That?Have you ever read the instructions for use for a product that you purchased? Let’s be honest, a majority of us simply do not take the time to read the instructions that come with a product; especially if it is something we believe we are familiar with already. I mean, who has the time, or patience, to sift through all of the warnings and the over simplified step-by-step description of how to use something in order to find that one little nugget of information that might actual improve your user experience? And besides, aren’t we supposed to be saving trees?


But wait. What if we told you that the instructions are there because not all products are created equal? Take the omnipresent blood pressure cuff for example. You’ve used one you’ve used them all, right? Wrong. Not every cuff is identical. There are many varieties, sizes, and shapes and each of those has specific, appropriate applications.

We appreciate the value of even five minutes gained in a day by tossing the instructions aside and charging forward. But in the case of blood pressure cuffs, the instructions for fitting are even more important, no matter how simple they may seem. Having the right sized cuff and placing that cuff properly on the patient’s arm are integral to the accuracy of any blood pressure measurement. And for automated blood pressure measurement devices, the cuff is the sensor which collects the necessary data to derive the blood pressure values. Applying an unsuitable cuff to your patient can generate erroneous results, and therefore affect a patient’s diagnosis and/or treatment.

Reading the instructions for use will help you learn to select the appropriate cuff size for your patient as well as how to apply it properly, thus ensuring the data you collect is accurate and useful. But, for all you visual learners, we have created five new videos to help with placement of some of the cuffs we offer at SunTech Medical: Orbit Cuffs for use with our Oscar 2 ABPM system, and for the Tango stress monitors Orbit-K Cuffs for everyday use, and Single Patient Use Kits as a Disposable Cuff option for the Stress Lab.

 

 

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Pay-For-Performance Achieves Better Hypertension Control?

Pay-For-Performanc Achieves Better Hypertension Control?As the Affordable Care Act becomes more established here in the US, one of the many new initiatives it brings to bear is pay-for-performance. Pay-for-performance is an incentive that encourages physicians to deliver a higher quality of care, as opposed to a reimbursement model that drives more tests and procedures. While similar to the system the National Health Service (NHS) has had in the UK for several years now, there is much debate over whether this method will improve the healthcare situation in the US. One group of researchers recently tested the pay-for-performance model by using the rate of hypertension control as their quality metric.

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Blood Pressure Measurement Technique— A Candid Discussion

Audio Series by SunTech MedicalLet’s be clear. I work for the marketing department of a medical device manufacturer, so I earn my paycheck by promoting this company and its products to the clinical community and developing new products that we can successfully convert into $$$. But is it possible to achieve these goals as well as actually helping people to get and stay healthy? Let me put it this way—if it weren’t, I’d quit.

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