False detection of atrial fibrillation in children by a blood pressure monitor with atrial fibrillation detection function

BMJ Case Rep. 2015 Jan 22;2015:bcr2014207974. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2014-207974.


A sphygmomanometer that can detect atrial fibrillation may help to identify asymptomatic patients who might benefit from anticoagulation. Its performance in young people has not been reported. In a school project measuring blood pressure in 60 normal healthy male teenagers (age range 13-18 years; mean±SD 15.0±1.5 years), a Microlife BPA200 blood pressure monitor indicated atrial fibrillation in 11 participants (18%). These participants did not have any personal or family history of heart disease. They had sinus arrhythmia and had significantly lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure, body mass index and waist circumference (all p values <0.05). In young people, atrial fibrillation is very uncommon and false positives are likely. To avoid unnecessary alarm and referrals, this function is best turned off in young patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Atrial Fibrillation / diagnosis*
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Mass Index
  • Equipment Design
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sphygmomanometers*