Taking blood pressure measurements of both arms, one after the other, could help to save lives, researchers find
22nd December 2020

TAKING blood pressure measurements of both arms, one after the other, could help to save lives, researchers have found.

Scientists who studied data on 54,000 people say a significant difference can indicate arteries are stiffening or narrowing, a warning sign for possible heart attack or stroke.

Dr Chris Clark, of the University of Exeter Medical School, said GPs check pressure in both arms about half the time due to time constraints.

He said: "Checking one arm then the other with a routinely used blood pressure monitor is cheap and can be carried out in any healthcare setting, without the need for additional or expensive equipment.

"Whilst international guidelines currently recommend that this is done, it only happens around half of the time at best, usually due to time constraints.

"Our research shows that the little extra time it takes to measure both arms could ultimately save lives."

While experts have long known that a difference in blood pressure between the two arms is linked to poorer health, the study helps to understand this association in greater detail.

Dr Clark added: "It tells us that the higher the difference in blood pressure between arms, the greater the cardiovascular risk.

"It really is critical to measure both arms to establish which patients may be at significantly increased risk.

"Patients who require a blood pressure check should now expect that it's checked in both arms, at least once."

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