Taking Blood Pressure Measurement Properly is Vital to Patients’ Health

New perspective piece gives physicians, patients guidelines on getting the best result
New York, NY-Decemeber 18, 2019 - Accurate blood pressure readings are only as good as the techniques used to take the measurement, according to a new perspective piece to be published today in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases (AJKD) by the Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (KDOQI).
More than 100 million U.S. adults have hypertension (high blood pressure), the majority requiring pharmaceutical treatment, and the disease is prevalent in people with chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Controlling blood pressure remains the most important intervention nephrologists or any care giver can provide to reduce kidney disease progression and prevent strokes and heart attacks,” said Holly Kramer, MD, co-author of “Blood Pressure Measurement: A KDOQI Perspective” and the President of the National Kidney Foundation (NKF). “However, without accurate data, decisions can be erroneous and lead to adverse outcomes.”
The authors, Paul E. Drawz, MD, MHS, MS; Srinivassn Beddhu, MS; Dr. Kramer; Michael Rakotz, MD; Michael V. Rocco, MD; and Paul K. Whelton, MD, of the article provide an update on best practices for measuring blood pressure in the office/clinic and for assessment and the best way for patients to take blood pressure measurement at home.
“Best clinical practices often start with the simplest of details such as best practices for blood pressure measurement,” Dr. Kramer said. “The ten minutes to review this KDOQI commentary by Drs. Paul Drawz and Paul Whelton could prevent hundreds of hours addressing errors and adverse events due to inaccurate blood pressure readings. Simply stated, improving blood pressure measurement in your clinic will improve the delivery of care in your clinic.”
The authors stress the importance of training patients on the variable nature of blood pressure and how to interpret measurements. For example, an empty bladder and the position of the patient’s feet can affect the reading, the article explains. Primary care professionals (PCP) should also spend time training their patients who measure from home the best practice to take a reading, how often, and how to keep a record of the readings for their PCP.
 “The measurement of blood pressure is one of the more important aspects of a clinic visit for patients with CKD,” said Dr. Drawz, co-author of the commentary. “Blood pressure is inherently variable. It is important that the technique for measuring blood pressure does not introduce even more variability. Implementing a process to measure blood pressure per the guidelines from the American Heart Association can provide patients and clinicians with the assurance that they are basing decisions regarding diagnosis and management of hypertension on blood pressure readings that were similar to those obtained in all of the landmark clinical trials that inform clinical care.”
Article Information
The article is published online and open to anyone for 90 days. It will then only be available to those subscribers to AJKD. Access the article by going to https://www.ajkd.org/article/S0272-6386(19)31059-5/fulltext
The authors are affiliated with the Division of Renal Diseases & Hypertension, University of Minnesota; Medical Service Veterans Affairs Salt Lake City Health Care System, Division of Nephrology & Hypertension, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City; Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Department of Public Health Sciences and Medicine, Loyola University Chicago, Maywood; America Medical Association, Chicago; Section on Nephrology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC; and Department of Epidemiology, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans.
About the American Journal of Kidney Diseases
The American Journal of Kidney Diseases (AJKD), the official journal of the National Kidney Foundation, is recognized worldwide as a leading source of information devoted to clinical nephrology practice and clinical research. Articles selected for publication in AJKD must adhere to rigorous standards, supporting the journal's goal to communicate important new information in clinical nephrology in a way that strengthens knowledge and helps physicians to provide their patients with the highest standard of care.
NKF Professional Membership
Healthcare professionals can join NKF to receive access to tools and resources both patients and professionals, discounts on professional education, and access to a network of thousands of individuals who treat patients with kidney disease. 
Kidney Disease Facts
In the United States, 37 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—and most aren’t aware of it.  1 in 3 American adults are at risk for chronic kidney disease.  Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and family history.  People of African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease.  African Americans are 3 times more likely than Whites, and Hispanics are nearly 1.5 times more likely than non-Hispanics to develop end-stage renal disease (kidney failure).
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive, and longstanding patient-centric organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S. For more information about NKF, visit https://www.kidney.org/