Differences between current clinical and American Heart Association blood pressure measurement techniques
Faezeh Sahbaeiroy and Mohamad Pourzadi,
Statement of the Problem:
Health workers who take blood pressure follow the guidelines recommended by American Heart Association for blood pressure measurement commonly. For taking blood pressure, it is important to apply standard methods. If we do it with a few mistakes, the result may effect in patient's medication. The purpose of this study is to compare the rate and accuracy of measuring blood pressure by Health Workers methods and American Heart Association Technique.
For validation of this observation, we designed a descriptive and observational study to be carried out in seven hospitals. Four hundred health workers divided into four groups (125 nurses 100 nursing students 100 medical students 75 physicians) were evaluated in a two-part test. In first part (practical), the examinee had to follow all steps recommended by American Heart Association to get a passing score. In the second part (theoretical which came second to avoid influencing the practical) the examinee had to answer correctly eight questions based on American Heart Association's guidelines to obtain a passing score.
52.5 % of systolic and 49.3% of diastolic readings was out of range. Nursing students obtained the best practical results (52% systolic and 39% diastolic within range) and physicians obtained the lowest values (18.5% and 31.4%). These two groups showed deficiencies in the theoretical test (physicians 7.6% correct answers and Nursing students 19.5%). Medical students obtained the best results on the theoretical test (73% correct P<0.001 versus the other groups) but were deficient in the practical test (28% systolic and 42% diastolic within range).
In conclusion, health workers used various techniques for measurement and no one completely followed the standard. Such measurements may affect diagnosis and treatment of hypertension but measuring all BPs solely by the standard is not practical. We need to have a practical and efficient method for measuring BP.