Why Do I See Such a Difference in Blood Pressure Measurements With Different Monitors?

Q: I take my blood pressure daily with two different devices (1) with an arm cuff and a (2) wrist cuff. The differences in readings can be as high as 25 points although they are taken at the same time. What is the cause of this?

A: Wrist cuffs are not felt to be as accurate as an arm cuff. Blood pressure changes from moment to moment. In addition if you are taking an arm cuff pressure and wrist cuff pressure on the same arm, the arm cuff is blocking blood flow to the wrist.

Harvard Health Video on Measuring Blood Pressure Correctly

There is a right way and a wrong way to measure your blood pressure. In this video, Harvard Heart Letter Editor Patrick Skerrett demonstrates both.

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