Home blood pressure monitors are especially important for the elderly, pregnant women, diabetics and people with kidney disease. Experts recommend that if you are buying one, choose one with an upper-arm cuff, not a wrist or finger device, as they can be most inaccurate
When evaluating home blood pressure monitors, it is important to consider both usability and accuracy, with accuracy of the reading being the most important consideration. International Consu-mer Research and Testing (ICRT), a Europe-based product testing organisation tested 24 samples of blood pressure monitors to check them for a range of parameters—like clinical measuring accuracy, memory, alarms, power supply, cuff circumference, labelling and even environmental disposability.
Blood Pressure Monitor Accuracy
The apparatus of the 24 models of BP monitors were tested for accuracy by ICRT. A jury consisting of 32 test persons, also including sufferers of high blood pressure and diabetes, was used to test each blood pressure monitor. Each monitor was used on each test person. The ‘Boso brand of BP monitors fared well as two of its models (Boso Medistar S and Boso Medicus Family) got the top scores of 3.68—ahead of all the other brands.
On the other hand, ‘Rossmax ibp A40 BP monitor was found to be least accurate—the monitor getting a score of 1.96 in the monitor accuracy test. Some of the points for which BP monitors were tested for accuracy were: measuring range, technical measuring accuracy, clinical measuring accuracy, measuring duration, and cuff pressure.
Ease of using a Blood Pressure monitor
The user manual instructions of a blood pressure monitor, changing and checking of battery, displays and controls, and environmental disposability of each of the 24 BP monitors were rated according to how easy it was for a consumer to use these features.
The Beurer BM 16 came out as the most easy-to-use BP monitor.
The Best Rated BP Monitors
In the overall ranking of BP monitors, ‘Aponorm by Microlife and ‘Boso Medicus Family got the top honours.
About Blood Pressure Monitors
Electronic/digital blood pressure monitors for home use are either semiautomatic manual-inflation (you squeeze the bulb to inflate the cuff) or automatic-inflation. Automatic monitors have everything contained in one unit, so its easier to handle than systems with a separate gauge and stethoscope. Most home blood pressure monitors are very portable and have a D-ring cuff for one-handed application. The cuff may fit around the wrist or arm. More expensive monitors have automatic inflation and deflation systems, along with large, easy-to-read digital displays and error indicators, reading printouts and built-in pulse (heart rate) measurement.
Most home blood pressure monitors measure either at the upper arm or wrist, though a few are also finger models. Experts say that those that measure pressure at the upper arm are best, as there is too great a chance for error when blood pressure is measured elsewhere.
HOW WE TEST
The tests of BP monitors were conducted by International Consumer Research and Testing (ICRT), based in Europe. ICRT is an association of 37 consumer organisations from 33 countries worldwide. It aims to promote co-operation in consumer research and testing among its members and other organisations concerned with consumer matters.
Why you need a Blood Pressure Monitor at home
1. Experts: All with hypertension should have home blood pressure monitors
2. Home monitoring can give more accurate readings, avoiding stress of doctor visit
3. Closer monitoring allows doctors to fine tune medicines, as with diabetics.
Types of Blood Pressure Monitors
- An aneroid monitor
- A digital monitor
- Finger/wrist blood pressure monitor
The aneroid monitor has a dial gauge that is read by looking at a pointer. The cuff is inflatedby hand, by squeezing a rubber bulb.
Digital monitors have either manual or automatic cuffs. The blood pressure reading flashes on a small screen, and is therefore easy to read. Some electronic monitors even give you a printout of blood pressure reading. The digital monitor is easier to use than an aneroid one. It has a gauge and stethoscope as one unit, an error indicator, and deflates automatically.
This device is good for hearingimpaired patients, as there is no need to listen to heart sounds through the stethoscope.
However, this equipment has some disadvantages too. The accuracy is changed by body movements or an irregular heart rate. The monitor also requires batteries, and some of its models are designed for use only with the left arm.
Finger/wrist monitors, as tests reveal, do not measure blood pressure accurately. Also, they are extremely sensitive to position and body temperature, and more expensive compared to other monitors.