Arm cuff blood pressure measurements may not predict heart disease accurately

In a new study, researchers found a measurement of central blood pressure in people with difficult-to-treat high blood pressure could help reduce the risk of heart disease better than traditional arm cuff readings.

The research was conducted by a team from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Central blood pressure, also called blood pressure amplification, is measured at the aorta, the artery closest to the heart.

In the study, the team looked specifically at people whose high blood pressure is resistant to treatment.

This means the patients’ arm blood pressure readings remain out of control despite the patient being on high blood pressure medications.

The researchers found this measurement can more accurately reflect heart disease risk in people with treatment-resistant high blood pressure.

In addition, higher differences in blood pressure between the arm and the aorta are linked to increased incidence of heart disease in the general population

The findings imply that amplification of blood pressure and pulse pressure remains high in patients with resistant hypertension regardless of blood pressure control.

This means the patients’ arteries are stiffer than patients with controlled blood pressure, and they’re having problems in their vessels that are leading to heart disease even though they are on medications and even though their blood pressure is under control.

The team suggests doctors should tailor blood pressure treatment for treatment-resistant high blood pressure patients by taking into consideration central blood pressure, amplification and reinforcing the importance of lifestyle modifications to patients — not only medications — to reduce heart disease risk.

The lead author of the study is Badhma Valaiyapathi, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The study was presented at the American Heart Association’s Hypertension 2019 Scientific Sessions.

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