Blood pressure measurement in special populations and circumstances

J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2018 Jul;20(7):1122-1127. doi: 10.1111/jch.13296.


According to the established validation protocols, a typical validation study of a blood pressure (BP) monitor includes general population adults with normal or elevated BP. It is recognized, however, that the automated (oscillometric) BP monitors may have different accuracy or uses in some special populations compared with adults in the general population. Thus, an automated BP monitor with proven accuracy in a general population of adults may not be accurate in a special population, and therefore separate validation is needed. Recognized special populations deserving separate validation are those for which there is theoretical, and also clinical evidence, that the accuracy of BP monitors in these groups differs from that in the general population. Young children, pregnant women (including those with preeclampsia), individuals with arm circumference >42 cm, and patients with atrial fibrillation are regarded as special populations. Adolescents, individuals older than 80 years, and patients with end-stage renal disease or diabetes mellitus have also been considered as possible special groups, but there is still inadequate evidence of altered accuracy of BP monitors in these subjects. Validation studies should be performed in special populations and evaluated separately after the BP-measuring device has successfully undergone a validation study in a general population (unless the test device is intended only for a special population). This article discusses issues relating to the measurement of BP and the diagnosis of hypertension in selected special populations, as well as in low-resource settings, where a simplified yet efficient evaluation strategy is necessary.

Keywords: accuracy; atrial fibrillation; blood pressure measurement; children; pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Atrial Fibrillation / diagnosis
  • Atrial Fibrillation / epidemiology
  • Atrial Fibrillation / physiopathology
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Blood Pressure Determination / methods*
  • Blood Pressure Monitors / standards
  • Blood Pressure Monitors / trends
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Equipment Design / standards
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diagnosis
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / epidemiology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Oscillometry / instrumentation
  • Oscillometry / methods*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / diagnosis
  • Pre-Eclampsia / epidemiology
  • Pre-Eclampsia / physiopathology
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sphygmomanometers / standards*