Evaluation of blood pressure measurement and agreement in an academic health sciences center

J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2012 Apr;14(4):222-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-7176.2012.00599.x. Epub 2012 Mar 5.


The authors assessed the process of blood pressure (BP) measurement and level of adherence to recommended procedures at representative sites throughout a large academic health sciences center. A casual observer assessed the setting and observed the process, noting the equipment, technique, and BP recorded by site personnel. A trained observer then repeated the patient's BP measurement following American Heart Association recommendations. Significant biases were observed between measurements by site personnel and the trained observer. Site personnel reported on average an increased systolic BP (SBP) of 5.66 mm Hg (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.09-8.23; P<.001) and a decreased diastolic BP (DBP) of -2.96 mm Hg (95% CI, -5.05 to -0.87; P=.005). Overall, 41% of patients had a ≥10-mm Hg difference in SBP between measurements. Similarly, 54% had differences of ≥5 mm Hg in DBP between measurements. Inaccurate BP measurement and poor technique may lead to misclassification, misdiagnosis, and inappropriate medical decisions. Concordance of measured SBP between our site personnel and trained observer was less than optimal. Several areas for improvement were identified. Routine calibration and use of system-wide standardized equipment, establishment of BP measurement protocols, and periodic technique and equipment recertification can be addressed in future quality initiatives.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Blood Pressure Determination / instrumentation
  • Blood Pressure Determination / methods*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Diastole
  • Hospitals, Teaching*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diagnosis*
  • Hypertension / pathology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Systole