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Accuracy of Forearm Blood Pressure Measurements in Severe Obesity



forearm bp measurementGetting reliable blood pressure readings in patients with obesity can pose a problem, even when extra-large cuffs are available. An often discussed alternative is the use of forearm readings using a regular cuff, but the reliability of these readings remains unknown.

Now a study by Marie-Eve Leblanc and colleagues from the University of Laval, Quebec, Canada, published in Blood Pressure Monitoring, shows that forearm measurements with an oscillometric device can be reliably measured and are highly predictive of intra-arterial blood pressure measurements in patients with sever obesity.

The study involved 25 participants with an average BMI of 50.9kg/m2. Overall, sensitivity (0.98) and predictive values (0.93) for the presence of systemic hypertension were excellent, indicating that the forearm approach is a promising alternative to systemic hypertension diagnosis in severe obesity.

This may well simplify blood pressure measurements in patients presenting with severe obesity, where upper arm measurements may be difficult.

@DrSharma
Calgary, AB

2 Comments

  1. Because I am severely obese, I bought a thigh cuff to take to my physician’s office. While it’s painful, it’s at least functional. Maybe a forearm reading would be less painful. When I’ve had to go to the ER, they always try to use the standard cuff with the automatic inflation device on my upper arm and it always pops off. They then just shrug their shoulders; they either don’t have a larger cuff or they can’t be bothered looking for one. I always wonder if I’m the only obese person in the city (doubt it) or are there a bunch of us whose needs are simply ignored.

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    • Thanks for your comment, this article may be something you’d want to take to your next doctor’s visit?

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