Objective: The German Hypertension League (Deutsche Hochdruckliga) established a program to assess the accuracy and reliability of blood pressure (BP)-measuring devices in 1999 (Quality Seal Protocol). Here, we report on the results of a testing series of 105 devices designed for BP self-measurement.
Methods: The test protocol for the validation of upper-arm, wrist, and finger devices was developed to compare device to conventional Riva-Rocci measurements based on five criteria: mean systolic and mean diastolic differences, their standard deviations, and a point score representing the correlation of systolic and diastolic errors of individual comparisons. The results of this testing are summarized.
Results: From 1999 to 2014, a total of 105 BP devices for self-measurement were tested according to the Quality Seal Protocol. Of these, 47.6% fulfilled all five validation criteria, 55.7% of the upper-arm devices (39 of 71) and 32.4% (11 of 34) of the wrist devices. Finger devices were not offered for testing. Forty-four devices (41.9%) failed multiple test criteria of the validation procedure. A subanalysis with 51 devices tested showed that a stricter definition of the passing point score with a limit of at least 55% would slightly increase the consistency with the conventional criteria in comparison with a point score criterion of at least 50%. It was therefore introduced in 2007.
Conclusion: The results indicate the importance of a rigorous testing of a BP-measuring device used for home BP measurement to prevent patients from making erroneous treatment decisions.