How should we measure blood pressure in the doctor's office?

William Gerin, Rose Merie Marion, Richard Friedman, Gary D. James, Dana H. Bovbjerg, Thomas G. Pickering

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Background: Blood pressure is the most ubiquitous diagnostic recording made in the doctor's office, but the measurement is subject to a number of sources of bias, which may lead to over- or underestimation. The current study examined the systematic influence of the way in which the measurements were taken - by the physician, by a nurse, or with the patient sitting alone, using an automated device. Subjects and methods: Blood pressure was measured in 17 essential hypertensive and 10 white-coat hypertensive individuals. On separate clinic visits, measurements were taken by the attending physician, by a nurse and using an automated device (Arteriosonde 1216). Results: A repeated-measures ANOVA revealed that, for systolic pressure, there was a significant effect of measurement modality on blood pressure. Physician systolic pressures were on average approximately 10mmHg higher than those taken by a nurse, nurse pressures being approxiamtely 7 mmHg higher than those recorded using Arteriosonde. The effect on diastolic pressure was similar but smaller, and no nurse - Arteriosonde difference was observed. Conclusions: We conclude that the routine clinical assessment of blood pressure would be more representative of daily ambulatory pressure if an automated device, without doctor or nurse present, were used.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-262
Number of pages6
JournalBlood Pressure Monitoring
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Assessment and Diagnosis
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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