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Old 04-05-2012, 03:09 PM   #1
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Automatic blood pressure machine pulse accuracy

I'm a 23 year old male in healthy shape, normal echo, EKG (2 in doctor office anyway), blood tests, etc. I do have high blood pressure which I am trying (under doctor supervision) to control naturally.

Anyway I have a home blood pressure monitor (CVS pharmacy automatic blood pressure cuff) and I do not trust it 100% due the significant variability in the readings it gives me.

My main question though is how accurate are automatically inflatable blood pressure cuffs in regards to determining an accurate pulse (bmp)? I only ask because last night I took my bp after running up two staircases (I was significantly drunk after a night at the bar with friends if it means anything) and the machine gave me a pulse of 200 bpm! It then gave me a bpm ~50 seconds later of 138 on the other arm! After a few minutes it was down to 90-95. I felt like my heart was going kinda fast at the time (which I figured was because of the alcohol/stairs) but not at all 200 bpm.

One time several months ago it also gave me a bpm of 190 after I got out of a shower. My cardiologist at the time told me it was probably a machine error because I did not feel any real symptoms and I was otherwise healthy (save for bp).

So now I'm not sure what to make of this latest (200, 138) bpm reading. I really am not that trustworthy of this machine and don't want to bother my doc, but at the same time 200 bpm is pretty serious.

So I was wondering whether you all consider automatically inflatable bp cuffs an accurate way of testing pulse rate, as well as your thoughts on my situation. Thanks!!!

Last edited by tx5; 04-05-2012 at 03:17 PM.

 
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Old 04-05-2012, 04:19 PM   #2
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Re: Automatic blood pressure machine pulse accuracy

Please understand the for the most part, the only reading that is of use to you is your RESTING reading. This means, before taking a reading, you must relax for 10 minutes, then take your BP with feet flat, arm at heart level.

Exertional readings are not interpretable, and should be elevated, though not much greater than 200, even when sprinting.

In regards to machine accuracy, they are supposed to be accurate. First start taking on resting readings, and see if they become more consistent.

 
Old 04-05-2012, 06:30 PM   #3
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Re: Automatic blood pressure machine pulse accuracy

Take your pulse manually to check.

 
Old 04-06-2012, 07:43 AM   #4
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Re: Automatic blood pressure machine pulse accuracy

Quote:
Originally Posted by atengnr View Post
Please understand the for the most part, the only reading that is of use to you is your RESTING reading. This means, before taking a reading, you must relax for 10 minutes, then take your BP with feet flat, arm at heart level.

Exertional readings are not interpretable, and should be elevated, though not much greater than 200, even when sprinting.

In regards to machine accuracy, they are supposed to be accurate. First start taking on resting readings, and see if they become more consistent.

Hey antengnr, thanks for the reply. I usually do take bp resting, but didn't in the cases mentioned admittedly. However the "exercise" I did (running up a single staircase) seems very disproportionate to 200 bpm, even while very drunk.

My average bpm is about 70ish, give or take a little. I also run on the treadmill at the gym (intensely) with heart rate monitors and rarely get above 160 unless I am sprinting all out (then might hit 180). So a brief pulse of 200 and then 138 bpm from a staircase even while drunk leads me to believe a) it was an error b) something serious could be going on that was triggered

Last edited by tx5; 04-06-2012 at 07:45 AM.

 
Old 04-09-2012, 03:13 PM   #5
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Re: Automatic blood pressure machine pulse accuracy

Drinking alcohol can cause an increase in heartrate in some people. That coupled with the fact that you ran up a staircase would make it possible that the reading on the machine was correct. Also the fact that it went back to a "normal" rate over a period of time seems to point to the fact that the machine was working correctly. You're not doing a very good job of controlling BP naturally if you overindulge in alcoholic beverages, but I'm sure you know that Take care.

 
Old 04-09-2012, 05:55 PM   #6
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Re: Automatic blood pressure machine pulse accuracy

I also use a CVS inflatable BP cuff and I agree that often the pulse is off by quite alot. Usually in my case it's because I have the cuff on too tight and I can get a 170-180 pulse, when I take it manually it will be in the 85-95 range.

Overall I agree that the CVS machines are pretty strange, occasionally giving readings that are nearly impossible such as 190/120 when I am feeling extremely relaxed, only to read 125/75 five minutes later. In my case it is usually the cuff being placed too tightly on my arm.

These cuffs aren't fullproof, even the very expensive ones with all their bells and whistles function more or less in the same manner and provide the same readings.

The way the pharmacist explained it to me, none of these machines are 100% accurate. They regularly malfunction and give false readings, although for the most part I would trust them. I would say mine is accurate 90% of the time. But yes I have absolutely experienced the pulse rate you are talking about.


Also be aware that if you have any anxiety associated with your readings your pulse rate will rise accordingly, this happens to me even when taking readings at home and occasionally will get an accurate 110-115 pulse.

Last edited by dantescritic; 04-09-2012 at 05:57 PM.

 
Old 04-15-2012, 02:45 AM   #7
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Re: Automatic blood pressure machine pulse accuracy

I am partial to the manuals. I have always gotten repeatable readings from them, while I cannot say the same for the automatics that I have tried.

 
Old 04-15-2012, 02:48 AM   #8
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Re: Automatic blood pressure machine pulse accuracy

Quote:
Originally Posted by tx5 View Post
Hey antengnr, thanks for the reply. I usually do take bp resting, but didn't in the cases mentioned admittedly. However the "exercise" I did (running up a single staircase) seems very disproportionate to 200 bpm, even while very drunk.

My average bpm is about 70ish, give or take a little. I also run on the treadmill at the gym (intensely) with heart rate monitors and rarely get above 160 unless I am sprinting all out (then might hit 180). So a brief pulse of 200 and then 138 bpm from a staircase even while drunk leads me to believe a) it was an error b) something serious could be going on that was triggered
the 200 I was referring too is systolic blood pressure.

 
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