Irregular heartbeats detected by BP Meter

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Hi,

First a bit of possibly relevant background.

I'm a type 2 diabetic (well controlled) and I suffer from high BP. I'm on three meds for the BP and have booked an appointment with my GP do discuss this as I find that 2 of the 3 meds are not recommended to be taken together and they also recommend that you don't take ibuprofen with them - which I'd like to take for arthritis. I've been on the meds for circa 4 years.

Yesterday I decided to splash out and buy a decent BP meter to replace my old one. I wanted one that stored results with date & time and also allowed history to be kept for 2 people (my wife has high BP to).

I bought an Omron purely based on the fact that most doctors I've ever visited seem to use Omron kit. The model I bought has additional functionality that includes detecting an irregular heartbeat. So far I've done 7 tests and 5 have shown this indicator. As a control, I've tested my wife the same number of times and her readings don't show the irregular heartbeat warning.

I have suffered from Bradycardia in the past and had a couple of ECGs as a result however, as far as I can recall, there were no comments about an irregular heartbeat from either the doctor or specialist.

I did once have my pulse taken by a nurse at my new practice (using her thumb!) which she did several times before saying it was irregular. My GP dismissed this after a quick in-surgery ECG.

So, just wondered if anyone else had this type of meter and similar issues? i.e. the meter indicates an erratic heartbeat but an ECG doesn't?

I don't "feel" any issues with my heartbeat but I know others in the family that did / do.

Cheers,

Stuart

 

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31 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Stuart,

    I bought a BP meter also and it shows the irregular heartbeat warning and is always correct.  Just a suggestion when you see your nurse or GP take the meter with you and get them to use it to take your blood pressure,  they normally do it the old way as you said using the thumb,  please take it with you even if you don't feel any issues with your heartbeat and ask them why there is a difference and get it checked.

     

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    • Posted

      Hi,

      I have just tidied up my spreadsheet for the GP that I use to list all my BP readings / averages / minimums / maximums etc., and I've added a column to indicate if the "irregualr heartbeat" icon is "on" for each reading. So far 67% of tests with the new meter have it!. I think I will take my meter with me tomorrow just in case I need to demonstrate it, although I'm fairly sure it won't be anything new to the GP :-)

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    • Posted

      My monitor has a rogram with it to copy the results to a spreadsheet. Irregular heartbeats and any body movements have their own columns. 
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    • Posted

      Hi Derek

      Out of interest, which meter do you have as I'd be interested in the copy to spreadsheet function?

      Stuart

       

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  • Posted

    I had an Omron M4 that bleeped as it took the BP reading. The pips were often irregular or spaced out but I do have a slow heart rate in the 40's.  There was never a comment when I had my BP taken elsewhere or had an ECG. Last year when I had AF I bought an Omron MIT Elite Plus that does not bleep but flashes up if heart beats are irregular.

    After cardioversion I was told that I was back in Sinus Rhythm with bradcardia and Ectopic beats. I appears that I always hadectopic beats but no one thought to mention it.

     

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  • Posted

    This is a paragraph from a very long instruction to GP's:

    " Automated devices may not measure blood pressure accurately if the pulse is irregular

    For all patients, palpate the radial or brachial pulse before checking the blood pressure. If the pulse is irregular, for example due to atrial fibrillation, an automated blood pressure device can give inaccurate readings due to beat-to-beat variation, so blood pressure should be measured manually with auscultation over the brachial artery"

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  • Posted

    Problem with any heart monitoring device is that it will only tell you what's happening at the time. I have PAF and every time I have ECG it shows my heart is normal. Interestingly your BP meter is not showing irrregular heartbeat every time so it's likely that the  ECG won't pick it up. So unless you can get ECG over extended period I would rely on BP monitor. I have an Omron meter and it's easy to see when I have ectopic or AF.
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    • Posted

      But can you distinguish between them? I couldn't when I had AF pripr to my cardioversion.
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    • Posted

      Absolutely no doubt. I can tell when a AF episode starts as heartbeat is no longer sinus but chaotic. I haven't had ectopic heartbeat since giving up Simvastatin  but recently started a med for a condition not heart related and the ectopic heartbeat is back due I'm sure to this med. Again to me unmistakeable. Basically regular heartbeat with missing beats follwed by a heavy beats. Can be seen easily on a BP monitor.
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  • Posted

    Off one of my meds (Valsartan Hydrochlorothiazide) which is good..but my GP confirmed he detected an irregular heartbeat so I'm now waiting for ECG. Unfortunately the machine at the practice was temprarily out of action so it couldn't happen today.

    Of 11 readings taken on the new Omron meter, 8 showed the irregular heartbeat symbol and GP said I was right to come in and get it checked.

    Atrial fibrillation is a possibility but GP needs to see the ECG results obviously.

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  • Posted

    Oh well, I guess I should thank my new Omron monitor for detecting my irregular heartbeat :-(.

    I had my ECG yesterday and the GP confirmed AF. She's put me on a 2.5mg dose of Bisoprolol immeadiately and I now have to do a battery of blood tests on Monday (too late yesterday) to see what condition my blood is in before the GP decides on which anticoagulant to prescribe.

    Now wating for hospital appointment for echocardiogram and then to see the specialist. Looks like my future care program will be managed by the hospital rather than the GP Surgery.

    All a bit depressing and I think the Bisoprolol has kicked in already, feel a bit "wooly" today like I did on Atenolol a few years back...

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    • Posted

      Hi Stuart,

      Glad you took the blood pressure monitor to your GP's  but sorry you feel a bit depressed I know how it feels,  already had echocardiogram and two cardiac inversions,  the only major problem I had was a total bad reaction to amiodorone that was worse than anything i have ever had, please check this medicine on the internet just in case they ever suggest you go on it.   Hope you feel better soon. By the way I am still in AF.

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    • Posted

      If you are prescribed Amiodarone and Warfarin the Warfarin should initially be on a low dosage . Many doctors seem not to know this. 
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    • Posted

      After the cardiac inversion I had to go to the Pharmacy to pick up prescription for the Amiodarone and it was the Pharmacy who printed out the page with the warning about this being used with Warfarin I had to ring the hospital to find out what to do and was then told to decrease the warfarin so that didn't cause the reaction it was the amiodarone itself  and it has taken a long time to get it out of my system.
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    • Posted

      Cardiologist did not warn me nor did the practice nurse checking my INR. The Nurse did not understand why my INR had gone from 2.4 to 3.1 in a few days and 3.9 by the next week.

      I did some research and found if on Warfarin and then prescribed Amiodarone that the Warfarin dosage should be halfed until the INR stabilises. I gave a print out to my GP who also said that he had not known that. He passed the paper on to the nurse.

      The information with the two drugs does not spell out the danger. When I spoke to the phamacist she did know but assumed that I would have been told. A different cardiologist at my next appointment also did not know.

      When I had previously been prescribed the drugs they were started together and the Warfarin dosage was lintitially low but that was at the hospital warfarin clinic.

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    • Posted

      We shouldn't have to do our own research,  MedSafe NZ actually spells it out about Amiodorone and Warfarin but when I broached the specialist on this he just shrugged it off.  The pharmacy I went to was on the way home from the hospital and I was very lucky that they printed the warning out and highlighted it when they gave me the precription. I am not absolutely certain but i think that I read that the Amiodarone is used as a chemical cardiac inversion. 
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    • Posted

      The American patient leaflets that come with their drugs spell it out as well.

      I wrote to two of the UK makers of the drugs and they interpreted their vague wording as something that would be understood by doctors.

      The patient is the last line of defence so it needs to made very plan.

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    • Posted

      Hi Derek,

      I thoroughly agree with you that the patient is the last line of defence and that it should be clearer.  That answer about the vague wording it only applies if the doctors read the articles they should.   I get the feeling at my doctors that they don't like it when I ask questions about the drugs but I would rather do that than end up with another chemical reaction.  You know you said you were feeling woolly on the new drugs hope it eases off soon,  I think we have to check everything we are given rather than assume the doctors are doing it for us what do you think.

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    • Posted

      I'm not the Woolly one!

      Another time prior to my heart valve replacement  I was prescribed Nicorandil. I thought that needed me to stop taking Cialis but the doctor did not say anything. When the pharmacist handed me the prescription she said that we have supplied you with Cialis recently do you know that you cannot take that when taking Nicorandil .

      I said that I had assumed that but the doctor had not warned me.  

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    • Posted

      Sorry Derek,  it was Stuart 1953 that was the woolly one and it looks like me also getting it wrong.  the pharmacist regarding the Nicorandil and the Cialis is another example of what the doctor should have said.  Anyway its 10.47pm here now and I had better head off to bed,  really appreciate the comments from you.   Again sorry about saying you were the woolly one. 
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    • Posted

      Over the 14 years with the meds I've been on I've been everything:-)

      I've had a couple of appointments at a Hypertension Referral Centre who are slowy doing tests to look for reasons for my fluctuating BP.

       Last time he commented that I had lived an extensive life with well documented hypertension and although it should be providing a cardiovascular risk and should benefit from treatment that is an epidemiological rather than individual statement and if we are only going to cause you harm it may be that outweighs any putative benefit. That he said would be a discussion that we can have when we are on firmer ground regarding secondary causes and drug strategies.

      This time he suggested that  I may not have hypertension but spikes in my BP and that is why all the medications have caused more than usual side effects. Perhaps If I did not take any meds it would still drop during the day but not to the extremes it does now. I told him that a previous GP had suggested that I might do just as well without medications and I had stopped them for about three weeks and my BP more or less stayed around 168/?? So that was not then the answer.

      At a cardiology appointment after my recent echocardiogram and ECG at my local hospital a keen young cardiologist asked what investgations had been done on my BP over the years. None I told him apart from 24 hour monitoring and a few blood tests. He was surprised that I had not been offered an MRI scan prior to the Hypertension Centre saying that they would arrange one.

       

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    • Posted

      Hi Derek,

      How the blazes do you deal with all this it looks as if you are up against a brick wall at times.   So are they going to do an MRI scan now? 

       

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    • Posted

      I've been dealing with it for fourteen years.  My head is bruised from that brick wall:-)

      Once when my BP had stayed in the 210/110 range for a few days and I had a headache and a tight chest I phoned for a GP appointment but none were available that day. I asked if the doctor could cal me back. By lunch time I had not had a call and had to go out. When he eventually phoned my wife took the call and he said: We don't really treat patients for BP at this practice. If we did we would not have time to see any other patients.  

      I asked another doctor to refer me to the hypertension clinic at a hospital. He said that if we did that with our patients there would be a queue from here to the hospital.

      Now diabetes is a different story as they get extra funding for diabetics and they get an annual check up. Over 75's are supposed to get an annual check up as well but that has not happened either.

      Some surgeries have Well Man/ Well Woman Clinics. Last time I was invited to one was about 30 years ago. I met my GP in the street and he said that he was having them and to make an appointment. It was bacically, check height, weight and BP. I asked him why he was holding them. He smiled and said that he was getting £25 for every patient coming to one.

       

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    • Posted

      14 years is too long for anyone to be dealing with health problems they should have been taken care of by now.

      How the heck can a doctor say they don't treat patients for BP,  they see the patient first and should sent them to the relevant place for treatment if they can't treat it.  Maybe if your doctor had spent more time with you and listened instead of  thnking  of the fees he was getting you may have improved a lot earlier. 

      I honestly don't know how you have managed for 14 years.

       

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    • Posted

      I think that many BP patients never get their numbers controlled. So many of us have bad reactions to the medications and probably stay on less effective ones than we need. Others just stop taking them

      I keep on being told by hospitals that it is my average that counts and that tends to be 147/78. Last letter to from hospital cardiologist to my GP said that it "continues to be well controlled"

      GP's certainly are not experts on hypertension and last week the consultant at the Hypertension Centre said  that cardiologist are not either. They he said are good at doing technical things but dealing with hypertension is best left to specialists like him.... of whom there are very few in the UK. 

      I don't know how GP's are paid in NZ, probably very differently from our ones who have thousands of patients on their register.

      Speaking once to a cardiologist about the difficulties in getting worldwide travel insurance with existing conditions he said I could still go to NZ as they have reciprocal health agreements with the UK.  Perhaps I should have another trip to Kiwiland.

      I did actually have my BP checked in NZ. We went to the thermal pool at the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Rotarua and you could not use it if your BP was over a certain level.

       

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    • Posted

      Everything you have written is so true just wonder how may people re affected by bad reactions to meds that would be really interesting to find out.

      I don't think we have Hypertension Centres here but I am going to try to find out.  I only found out that the specialist I was seeing was not a cardiologist but a general specialist treating me and giving me cardio inversions (2) it looks as if the cardiologist is over in Nelson which is about a 2 hr. drive from here but it hasn't been mentioned that I should go there.

      There are reciprocal health agreements with the UK.   We actually pay when we visit the doctor here it is an average of $46.00 per visit and $25.00 to see a nurse.   Prescription charges are $5.00 per item.

      I'm not sure but we seem to have got away from the original thread for Stuart1953 I noticed that by each name there is an envelope which means that we can send a private message, should we be using that?

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    • Posted

      What reaction did you have to amioadone... as there are so many.

      First time I developed floaters in my eyes and developed a lurching walk and a tremor in my hands.

      When prescribed it again the floaters came back, the eye specialist who did my cataracts said coincidence. I had problems with equlibrium and making small turning and bending movement in the shower or in the kitchen caused me to lose balance and become dizzy. It was rather like vertigo but without the spinning sensation.Getting up from a chair and I had to clutch for support until things stabiliised. I again lurched when making small steps but was all right after getting up speed. Within three weeks of stopping it things went back to normal.

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    • Posted

      I was told to take 3 tablets daily for 1 week then 2 daily the second week then 1 daily.  I only lasted 3 days taking the 3 daily then it was unbelievable couldn't think properly, shaking,  crying for no reason and my body had swollen up, I went to the doctors who rung the specialist and ended up on 2 different anti histamine tabs,  my eyes played up and are still doing so but the other thing that happened was all the skin on my palms peeled off then the skin on the soles of my feet peeled off, now I wish I had gone to the hospital not the doctors because I still don't feel right, still gettiing swelling of the body and most days my eyes are so dry and also appear swollen and have been back to doctors twice they don't seem to be worried.  I also had the floaters in my eyes.  It seem weird to say but it is good to know that it wasn't only me.  How long did it take for the symptoms you had to disappear.
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