American Heart Association Issues New Recommendations for Blood Pressure Measurement
April 1, 2019 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care
The American Heart Association (AHA) has issued recommendations designed to help clinicians obtain the most accurate blood pressure (BP) measurements. AHA issued its recommendations in three categories: training; selecting cuff sizes; and body position. Recommendations for training in BP measurement include assessing the physical and cognitive competencies of physicians (e.g., clinicians must be able to see the dial without eye strain and read the sphygmomanometer from no farther than three feet away); assessing clinicians' knowledge and understanding of BP techniques and of variables that may affect the readings; and assessing awareness of the importance of using only well-maintained, validated devices and of managing patient variables such as positioning. Recommendations for selecting cuff size include measuring the patient's arm circumference at the midpoint of the acromion and olecranon without rolling up the sleeves (which can create a tourniquet effect).