Two-arm blood pressure check indicator for risk from heart disease or death

January 29, 2012, The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry

A systematic review and meta-analysis carried out by researchers at the University of Exeter Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry (PCMD) has found that differences in systolic blood pressure between arms could be a useful indicator of the likelihood of vascular risk and death.

The findings add support to the calls for both-arm blood pressure checks to be performed as standard.

The review is published in The online today and the study is supported by the Royal College of General Practitioners, the South West GP Trust and the National Institute for Health Research Peninsula Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care.

The study reviewed 28 papers covering difference in systolic blood pressure between arms. It found significant evidence to suggest that a difference of 15mm Hg or more was associated with increased risk of: peripheral vascular disease (the narrowing and hardening of the arteries that to the legs and feet); pre-existing cerebrovascular disease (affecting the blood supply to the brain and often associated with cognitive issues such as ); and mortality, both as a result of and generally.

The risk of was also increased at a difference of 10mm Hg or more.

The findings further support the need for both-arm blood pressure checks to be the norm – not least because most cases are 'clinically silent' and such checks would better identify those at risk.

Dr. Christopher Clark, Clinical Academic Fellow at PCMD and a GP in Witheridge, Devon, led the study. He said: "We set out to investigate whether there was an association between differences in systolic between arms and vascular disease and mortality. Our findings indicate a strong association, and that differences of 10mm Hg or 15mm Hg or more might help to identify patients who are at risk and who need further vascular assessment. More research is required in order to transfer our findings to clinical practice, but in the meanwhile we will be flagging the results of our review to the UK Vascular Check programme."

Explore further: Study evaluates 'normal range' systolic bp levels after ischemic stroke and risk of recurrent stroke

More information: Paper online: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(11)61710-8/abstract

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gwrede
not rated yet Jan 29, 2012
This should be declared the news item of the year, not only of the week! And it should be broadcast to the entire health care profession immediately.

In my lifetime, there have been few medical discoveries that can be applied with less unit cost and more value for the patient.

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