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Automatic Blood Pressure Monitors with Irregular Heart Beat Indicator and JNC7 Bar Indicator for Blood Pressure

by Barbara 12. February 2012 13:21

Question about automatic blood pressure monitors that show an irregular heart beat has occurred.

Q: " Which blood pressure monitors give indications of an irregular heart beat? My mother was told she has this problem. I want to keep track of my blood pressure and know if or when I have it, too. Thanks. Lily."

Answer: The definition of an irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia is a heartbeat that varies by 25% from the average of all heartbeat intervals during a blood pressure measurement. According to WebMD, "arrhythmias may be caused by many different factors, including:

  • Coronary artery disease.
  • Electrolyte imbalances in your blood (such as sodium or potassium).
  • Changes in your heart muscle.
  • Injury from a heart attack.
  • Healing process after heart surgery.

Irregular heart rhythms can also occur in "normal, healthy" hearts." And there are no symptoms in those situations.

"A normal heart rate is 50 to 100 beats per minute. Arrhythmias and abnormal heart rates don't necessarily occur together. Arrhythmias can occur with a normal heart rate, or with heart rates that are slow (called bradyarrhythmias -- less than 50 beats per minute). Arrhythmias can also occur with rapid heart rates (called tachyarrhythmias -- faster than 100 beats per minute). In the United States, more than 850,000 people are hospitalized for an arrhythmia each year.refrain from talking during measurements. arrhythmia can be silent and not cause any symptoms. A doctor can detect an irregular heartbeat during a physical exam by taking your pulse or through an electrocardiogram (ECG)." from WebMD.

The majority of newer automatic blood pressure monitors have an Irregular Heartbeat symbol appear in the digital display window in the event an Irregular Heartbeat has occurred during measurement. An irregular heartbeat is defined as a heartbeat that varies by 25% from the average of all heartbeat intervals during the blood pressure measurement.

The blood pressure monitors below also use an bar indicator advocated by the The Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure for Adults. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute - May 2003. This is a feature which provides a snapshot of your blood pressure classification based on your measurements. This will let you quickly know what your blood pressure readings mean. Each segment of the bar indicator corresponds normal, prehypertensive, hypertensive 1 or hypertensive 2.The Systolic reading is first and the diastolic reading is second.

  • Normal less than 120 and less than 80
  • Prehypertension 120-139 or 80-89
  • Stage 1 Hypertension 140-159 or 90-99
  • Stage 2 Hypertension 160 or 100

When taking your blood pressure or when your nurse or physician takes it, you should relax, remain still and refrain from talking. (My doctor's nurse always wants me to answer questions, maybe that is one reason why my bp is always higher in their office?, White collar bp syndrome!)

Keys to Successful Monitoring: Blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day. We recommend that you are consistent in your daily measurement routine:
• Measure at the same time every day.
• Sit in the same chair/position.
• Do not cross legs and keep your feet flat on the floor.
• Relax for 5 minutes before measurement.
• Use the correct cuff size to get an accurate reading.
• Sit still during measurement – no talking, eating or sudden
movements.
• Record your measurement in a logbook.

Here are some blood pressure monitors we currently sell that have the irregular heart beat symbol in the display:

The models change every year or so.

I hope I have answered your questions.

Sincerely,

Barbara