Blood pressure monitors

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Hello  Am due to gp tomorrow but just wondered if anyone has had trouble with their blood pressure monitors.  I was on amlodipine for some years and my readings at home were between 120 to 139 systolic and 54 to 65 diastolic ( I should point out that I did ask my previous gp about the low diastolic but did not seem bothered and said it was the medication) At the surgery the readings are always higher 140 to 150 systolic according to my gp white coat syndrome would make sense as I suffer from an anxiety.  The amlodipine caused increasing ankle swelling over the years and when we recently moved my new gp stopped the amlodipine and changed me to bendrofluorizde (not sure I've spelt that correctly).  The ankle swelling is virtually gone.  My readings since changing medications have been similar to before with higher readings at the surgery.  I had to change the batteries on my monitor and since then the readings have been higher ( 3/4 days). I have had  systolic in the 140's and 150's.  However I wonder if their is a problem with the blood pressure monitor or whether is needs replacing or recalibrating. I get error readings that cuff not inflated enough and also the machine inflates starts to deflate in then inflates again giving a higher reading.  It is true that I have been rather anxious this week but even so have never had readings that high.  I am not mentioning the name and model I use as I thought they might delete the post.  It is well known and a basic model bought from the chemist which my previous gp said was fine.  Anyone had this happen to them.  Obviously will take the monitor to my new gp tomorrow.  Also wondering if the lower reading were false because the monitor was failing.  Thanks.

0 likes, 24 replies

24 Replies

  • Posted

    Yes - I always get a similar discrepancy. It affects both systolic and diastolic, which suggests it's not down to "white coat syndrome", as anxiety tends to push up only the systolic. I bought mine - the basic model that doesn't flag up atrial fibrillation - in "the big B" on a visit to the UK at the end of last year. I suspect you have a similar model.

    I actually took it with me on my last GP visit in March to ask his opinion, but unfortunately the visit fell on a day when we'd had a terrible disaster in this city and I could see the poor man was desperate to get through his surgery and home to his family so didn't push it. I'm due to see him again at the end of this month, so will ask him about it then. He's normally very patient and allows unlimited time per consultation, so I'm sure he'll help me with this.

    I've bookmarked this page and will get back to you with the outcome in a few weeks' time.

  • Posted

    I would take the monitor to the pharmacy of the store where I bought it. They can compare it to another or a new machine. Or call the company that makes first machine only lasted 2 years. The machine I have now is quite cheap and mail order and only works if the cuff is above the heart
    • Posted

      Thank you I can't take it back to where I brought in because we have moved 200 miles.  I will see what the doctor says tomorrow but I might phone the company.  To be honest I think it is more than 2 years old.  My fault really I should have either had it recalibrated or bought a new one which I will probably do now.  One thing I do not understand is on the instruction leaflet it says if the systolic is above 140 after the cuff starts to inflate press and hold the start button until the monitor inflates 30 to 40mmhg higher than your expected systolic pressure.  Not quite sure what that means.  I have had readings in the 140s although most have been 120s to 130s.  I never had any problems in the past.  I wonder if this is why it inflates starts to deflate and then inflates again.  I will not do any more readings until I have seen my gp tomorrow.  It frightened me because I got readings of 150-170 this all started after changing the batteries.  I am hoping that it is not my blood pressure which has suddenly risen in the last few days but a problem with the monitor.  The trouble is that I always get higher readings at the surgery always have.  Will report back once I know whats going on.

    • Posted

      Doesn't sound like the same model as mine after all. I've just checked the instruction leaflet again, and it says you only need to hold down the start button (to keep the inflation going) if your BP is known to be higher than 170, in which case you should hold the button down till the inflation gets to 30-40 above your expected systolic pressure. There's also the usual comment about getting a bigger cuff if the circumference of your upper arm is >32cm/12.5in. Something I've just noticed for the first time is the following instruction: "Do not use a mobile phone or other devices that emit electromagnetic fields near the unit. This may result in incorrect operation of the unit." I don't think that applies to me, but I'll certainly bear it in mind in future.

    • Posted

      when you take your blood pressure the starting value must be higher than your blood pressureand then Tick back down. sometimes It stops and inflate some more to get to that higher number e.g. tick down from 180 to 140. I hope you choose a different brand if you get a new monitor because most are easier to operate. You might want to squeeze all the air out of your cuff and insert new batteries
    • Posted

      Thank you.  I have just inserted new batteries but can replace them again. I have never had it stop and reinflate during all the time I have used the monitor even when the odd reading was over 140.  I can only assume that my blood pressure had gone up over the last few days or there is something wrong with the monitor.  I think I will purchase another brand as you suggested.  I must also improve diet and anxiety/stress.
    • Posted

      Improving your diet and some light exercise and maybe your monitor will work. It may only work for near normal blood pressure
    • Posted

      I bought a new with more features and it's readings compare well wth my previous one bought in 2001. Both are made by Omron.

      If you look at the bhf (British  Heart Foundation) site it has a list of approved ones as does NICE. The better ones also register irregular heart beats.

    • Posted

      My older one has four settings that you can use for your expected BP range.

      When I have a 24 hour monitor my erratic BP causes about 30% of the  readings to register an error code.

    • Posted

      My older one had the four settings but the newer ones have more automatic features and ramps up on its own when blood pressure is high
    • Posted

      I take my blood pressure a lot and I get error codes when I move around a lot or am talking while the machine is running or the battery is low
  • Posted

    Twice now I have ended up having my husbands BP and heartbeat, name of bp monitor starts with an O, calibrated by the hospital. 

    Hospitals readings on their big expensive machine came back with exactly the same readings as my little 6 x 6 inch box, even after the hospital staff scoffed that his readings could not possibily be correct, after they came back the same, they hit the red emergency button on the wall.

    Their machines only confirmed my little machine was doing its job correctly and me driving him to the hospital was the right thing to do.

    Even Dr's have got to the point of saying how many times have you brought him in seriously ill with complications of his pre existing heart failure, 4 times now.

    Re double pumping, I have found if you move when you are taking BP, it seems to upset the machine, you need to sit very still and relaxed.

    • Posted

      how high were his readings? I have gone with as high as 236/134 and heart rate 136 and no panic buttons pressed.

      My machine registers any movement. The best one is to cough or sneeze when taking the reading. That gave me a diasyoic of 156.

    • Posted

      First time he was dehydrated heart beat at 60 which was normal but Blood pressure at 36 over 42, he should not even have been consious, although it was doubtful he was fully consious.

      Our little BP monitor kept on faulting or error messaging as his readings seemed so wrong. 

      He got angry with me when I said I am taking you to the heart hospital, which only confirmed he was in real trouble, lack of blood supply to brain can result in not thinking correctly, or even reacting correctly when he felt so dizzy.

      Second time his blood pressure was normal but heartbeat at 30, and complaining he was so dizzy he couldn't stand up without feeling as though he was going to pass out.

      End result after alot of mucking around adjusting his medications, over two days, they junior staff called up the senior consultant specialist.

      Snr was not a happy chappy when I told him about what had been going on, pain in bicep, no report on echo done some weeks previous, jnr's Dr's continued to ignore the pain in his bicep, or upper arm, his heartbeat fell to 23 BPM, over 2 days, but his blood pressure held at 100 over 60, that is normal for him, no swollen ankles, again normal for him, but very swollen tummy, very poor blood supply to arms & legs, his skin was white as the sheets, even nurses in the hospital were having problems getting a correct reading on his heartbeat.

      I think they ran it very close to losing him, I was not a happy wife.

      They installed a three lead pacemaker and defibulator, his health has returned to where he was 5 years ago before he was diagnosed with heart failure.

      He reported to nurses and Dr's that the pain in his arm vanished as soon as they turned the pacemaker on.

      From what i can figure out the pain in his arm was a lack of blood supply, and should have raised warning bells when we had reported it to GP and junior locum of heart specialist, some months previous, but everyone dismissed as a shoulder rotator cuff or torn muscle, or pinched nerve in his neck, they were wrong, it was coming from his heart.

      Although not usual pain from what I understand and rarely seen in heart failure patients, even GP mentioned to us afterward when I asked him, to check his cardio books, apparently there is a two line mention so can be easily missed, heart issue disguised as rotator cuff.

    • Posted

      My experience:

      They were doing  a colonoscopy and I am slightly sedated but feel ok watching it on the screen. On the other screen I see my BP dropping to 40/29 and heart rate 30. I think are they going to do something about this? They suddenly panic:

      Discharge notes say:

      “Gellofusion was administered and .1ml of atropine given.  Anaesthetist was called who then administered 1L of Hartman’s solution, an extra 3 mls of atropine and 20 mg of Boscopon .

      Patient much improved and monitored in his room for rest of day” In an NHS hospital I would be on a trolley in the corridor.

      Heart rate went up in the room  and by mid-afternoon after being on a drip and having tea and toast and lots of water my BP was 123/67 which made them happy. Their reasons for the big drop, dehydration after yesterday’s laxative ( was drinking a glass of water every hour and had two cans of Baxter’s consommé and large amounts of jelly. Or the sedative or that the probe stimulated my vagus nerve during the procedure. I certainly did not feel that pleasure.

       I gave them a real scare. There were about a dozen of them administering to me. I had read that no patient had died during a colonoscopy since 2000 and did not want to start a trend.

      On the Wednesday prior to the procedure my heart rate had been in the 90’s but the next morning was normal. After taking the laxative it went up to 146. I had some beta blockers from the last time that happened and took one and in the morning at the hospital my BP/heart rate was 166/74 64


    • Posted

      Wow! You certainly went through the mill, didn't you? Try not to have any more colonoscopies! A friend had one recently. It all went well, and they didn't find any abnormalities. (They were checking at both ends for possible sources of bleeding after her Hb went down but found nothing.) A week later she was rushed into hospital with a bad case of intestinal obstruction, and has had another couple of minor attacks since.

      My GP is always trying to talk me into having one. Over here they reckon everyone over 50 should have a routine colonoscopy every 5 years. I've always politely declined.

    • Posted

      I then had to have a cardioversion to get back into NSR. All was well until 14 months later when my vagus nerve was again stimulated this time by a uroplogy nurse doing a DRE on my prostate. When I got home my BP had dropped and I could feel that I was back in AF.

      The Japanese are very keen on colonoscopies and many of my older American friends seem to have them  every couple of years.

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