How to choose the best blood pressure monitor?
Supply has excerpted an excellent article, written by Cindy
Maley, Product Manager, for American Diagnostics Corporation, which was
posted on the ADC website.
It is listed below and we feel that
it helps provide great guidance on what to look for in your next home BP monitor.
§ First and foremost, look at the company behind
the brand. Make sure the model you choose is from a manufacturer with a strong
track record in this industry.
§ Look for independent certification from, or
compliance with, a respected agency,
§ Look for a unit that includes irregular
heartbeat detection. This feature will ensure greater accuracy on patients with
an irregular heartbeat — a condition that often goes undetected, but can
confuse the software of BP monitors without this capability.
§ Unless portability is a major concern, choose
a unit that measures at the upper arm.
In theory upper arm and wrist models are of comparable accuracy, but in
practice you’re likely to experience greater consistency in readings obtained
on an upper arm unit. Wrist models are recommended for those with arms too
large to fit properly in an upper arm cuff, or for people who travel regularly
and need portability.
§ If you can afford it, choose a fully automatic
unit (with automatic inflation). The more you leave to the instrument itself,
the more consistent the measurement results will likely be.
§ If you can afford it, choose a unit that takes
up to three successive measurements and averages the readings. This tends to
smooth the measurement results and makes the readings more meaningful. It also
reduces the occasional inconsistencies that often lead to confusion and post
§ If you can afford it, choose a unit that links
to PC software to make tracking and trending easier to observe. It is
universally agreed that individual readings are of less value than repeated
measurements taken over time and the easiest way to track and observe is with
the help of specialized software. Some models do this through a smart phone
app — others link to a traditional PC. Others still, are compatible
with Microsoft® HealthVault™,
allowing you to manage your BP records online. It doesn’t really matter which
technology is used, just that tracking be available.
§ Make sure the unit is backed by a reasonable
warranty. We suggest at least 2 years. Beyond 5 is of limited value as emerging
new technologies will likely make your purchase obsolete long before it fails.
There are a lot of other features available all of which can be
helpful, but we think are less essential.
§ Extensive memories with date and time stamps:
nice to have, but in all likelihood, you will want to manually log the readings
and bring the record to your caregiver for review. And if your unit has
computerized tracking (PC link or smart phone app), you really don’t need all
those memories. If you do select one with memories, make sure they have a
date/time stamp. Memories without a date/time stamp are of limited value.
§ A/C adapter: a nice feature to have if you
plan to use the device regularly and keep the instrument plugged in and on your
desktop. If you plan to put it in a drawer after each reading, it’s of little
§ Traffic Light System: Evaluates the
hypertension risk in accordance with WHO standards. Nice, but not absolutely
necessary. Better left to your healthcare provider to decide on the meaning of
your readings and the course of treatment, if any required.
§ Morning Hypertension Indicator: A new feature
offered by some manufacturers that filters stored readings by time of day.
Nice, but not essential if you use tracking software.
§ Ecclempsia Measurement: Hypertension during
pregnancy. If you’re pregnant, this is an important feature, but of limited
value to anyone else.
§ Extended Range cuff: Will fit a larger range
of arms. Important if more than one in your household plans to take their BP
with the same instrument. Otherwise, just make sure the included cuff fits YOU.
Most instruments indicate the arm circumference range on the outer box. Look
for specific ranges (typically in cm), not simply generic size names (i.e.,