This site is intended for health professionals only

BP differences can predict early death

Patients with different blood pressure (BP) readings in each arm have a heightened risk of early death, a study claims.  

Time pressures and lack of evidence stops clinicians from measuring blood pressure in both arms in many patients.

However, research published in the British Medical Journal claimed it should become a “core component” when treating patients with high blood pressure in primary care.

Researchers at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry analysed 230 patients from the same GP practice with high blood pressure between 1999 and 2002.

The study found a 9% increase in risk of death for every one mmHg inter-arm differences in blood pressure.

 Dr Dae Hyun Kim from Harvard Medical School advised clinicians to undertake subsequent blood pressure monitoring in the arm with the higher reading.

This, he said, will help to determine necessary treatment, but more work is needed to establish the link between inter-arm blood pressure reading and mortality.

Question: What prevents you from routinely measuring a patient's BP in both arms?