Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Hypertension/High Blood Pressure Health Center

Font Size

Drugstore Blood Pressure Machines May Not Be Dependable

continued...

Since 1993, the American College of Physicians says patients should not rely on blood pressure readings from self-monitoring blood pressure devices, and Beckley agrees the machines are no substitute for a doctor's care. "It is a way to check on your blood pressure for free in between doctor's visits," she says. "Still, our machines take 200 million readings per year nationwide, and we have had a number of times consumers have been alerted of a problem."

Van Durme says the manufacturers of the devices should monitor the accuracy and reliability of the devices frequently and make maintenance information readily available. Beckley says each individual machine is calibrated on a scheduled basis. She also says Vita-Stat has a 24-hour service organization nationwide to handle calls about defective machines.

"Anytime a person believes a machine is inaccurate, they just need to tell the pharmacist and he can report the problem to us," Beckley says.

Vital Information:

  • A new study shows that blood pressure machines found in drugstores are often inaccurate, especially if a person's arm is larger or smaller than average.
  • A spokeswoman for one of the manufacturers argues that the machines all meet industry standards and help patients monitor blood pressure between doctor visits.
  • Since 1993, the American College of Physicians has advised against relying on self-monitoring blood pressure devices.
1|2

Today on WebMD

lowering blood pressure
SLIDESHOW
man in bed
TOOL
 
heart-shaped stethoscope
Quiz
Overturned salt shaker
Quiz
 
heart healthy living
ARTICLE
Erectile Dysfunction Slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
Bernstein Hypertension Affects Cardiac Risk
VIDEO
Compressed heart
Article
 
Heart Disease Overview Slideshow
SLIDESHOW
thumbnail for lowering choloesterol slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
Heart Foods Slideshow
SLIDESHOW
Low Blood Pressure
VIDEO
 

WebMD Special Sections