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A Journal on Heart and Vascular Diseases

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Angiology and Vascular Pathology
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Minerva Cardioangiologica 2006 August;54(4):399-416

language: English

Accuracy of the blood pressure measurement

Rabbia F., Del Colle S., Testa E., Naso D., Veglio F.

Hypertension Center, Division of Internal Medicine Department of Medicine and Experimental Oncology S. Vito Hospital, University of Turin, Turin, Italy


Blood pressure measurement is the cornerstone for the diagnosis, the treatment and the research on arterial hypertension, and all of the decisions about one of these single aspects may be dramatically influenced by the accuracy of the measurement. Over the past 20 years or so, the accuracy of the conventional Riva-Rocci/Korotkoff technique of blood pressure measurement has been questioned and efforts have been made to improve the technique with automated devices. In the same period, recognition of the phenomenon of white coat hypertension, whereby some individuals with an apparent increase in blood pressure have normal, or reduced, blood pressures when measurement is repeated away from the medical environment, has focused attention on methods of measurement that provide profiles of blood pressure behavior rather than relying on isolated measurements under circumstances that may in themselves influence the level of blood pressure recorded. These methodologies have included repeated measurements of blood pressure using the traditional technique, self-measurement of blood pressure in the home or work place, and ambulatory blood pressure measurement using innovative automated devices. The purpose of this review to serve as a source of practical information about the commonly used methods for blood pressure measurement: the traditional Riva-Rocci method and the automated methods.

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