Accuracy of blood pressure monitors owned by patients with hypertension (ACCU-RATE study)

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Hodgkinson, James A 
Lee, Mei-Man 
Milner, Siobhan 
Bradburn, Peter 
Stevens, Richard 

Background Home blood pressure (BP) monitoring is recommended in guidelines and increasingly popular with patients and health care professionals, but the accuracy of patients’ own monitors in real world use is not known.

Aim To assess the accuracy of home BP monitors used by people with hypertension, and investigate factors affecting accuracy.

Design and Setting Patients on the hypertension register at seven practices in central England were surveyed to ascertain if they owned a monitor and wanted it tested.

Method Monitor accuracy was compared to a calibrated reference device, at 50 mmHg intervals between 0-280/300 mmHg (static pressure test), with a difference from the reference monitor of +/-3 mmHg at any interval considered a failure. Cuff performance was also assessed. Results were analysed by usage rates, length of time in service, make and model, monitor validation status, cost, and any previous testing.

Results 251 (76%, 95% CI 71-80%) of 331 tested devices passed all tests (monitors and cuffs) and 86% passed the static pressure test, deficiencies primarily due to overestimation. 40% of testable monitors were unvalidated. Pass rate on the static pressure test was greater in validated monitors (96% [95% CI 94-98%] vs 64% [95% CI 58-69%]), those retailing for over £10, and those in use for less than four years.12% of cuffs failed.

Conclusion Patients’ own BP monitor failure rate was similar to that in studies performed in professional settings, though cuff failure was more frequent. Clinicians can be confident of the accuracy of patients’ own BP monitors, if validated and less than five years old.

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British Journal of General Practice
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Royal College of General Practitioners
This work represents independent research commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) under its Programme Grants for Applied Research funding scheme (RP-PG-1209-10051). The views expressed in this study are those of the authors and not necessarily of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health. RJM was supported by an NIHR Professorship (NIHR-RP-02-12-015) and by the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) Oxford at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. FDRH is part funded as Director of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Primary Care Research (SPCR), Theme Leader of the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), and Director of the NIHR CLAHRC Oxford. JM is an NIHR Senior Investigator. No funding for this study was received from any monitor manufacturer.