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NICE approved blood pressure monitor better detects irregular heartbeat

A machine that measures a patient’s pulse could increase the detection rate of an irregular heartbeat compared to the traditional assessment of taking a pulse by hand, health experts have said.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has proposed draft recommendations that NHS doctors should use the Watch BP Home A device on people with suspected high blood pressure.

Using the device could also increase the detection rate for atrial fibrillation - a condition that causes an irregular heart rate, a Nice spokesman said.

The device is a blood pressure monitor which automatically detects pulse irregularity that may be caused by symptomatic or asymptomatic atrial fibrillation, while it records blood pressure.

Professor Carole Longson, director of the Nice Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, said: “The independent medical technologies advisory committee has produced draft guidance supporting the use of Watch BP Home A, based on the evidence it considered.

“This evidence indicates that the device can offer advantages in measuring blood pressure and detecting atrial fibrillation and that using the device in primary care could increase the detection rate of atrial fibrillation compared with taking the pulse by hand.

“This would allow preventative treatment to be given to reduce the incidence of atrial fibrillation-related stroke.

“We welcome comments on the draft guidance as part of the current consultation.”

Readers' comments (3)

  • Sounds like a good piece of kit but can never take the place of manually taking a pulse or listening to the heart.
    Having been in a hospital with AF and SVT
    I was shocked that the nursing staff never once did my pulse manually ,the obs were done by some nurses or the health care assistants who took the reading from the Sao2 monitor which cannot cope with an irregular pulse. They ignored the cardiac monitor because it was too dificult to chart such a fast irreguler pattern.
    looking at my chart you would get the impression that I had a normal heart rate.
    After my doctor saw the chart he wanted to discharge me and I had to remind him to look at my cardiac monitor and take my pulse!
    I pointed this out to the nurse in charge one day and asked her why they did not do the pulse manually, she told me they were not taught to take a manual pulse for patients with arrythmia.
    When I was moved to CCU the nurses there also never took a pulse manually.
    Totally disgusting and dangerous.
    False recordings lead to misdiagnosis of the living and inaccuracey in determinating the cause of death for coroners.
    When using this monitor ,any positive readings should allways be followed up with manuallychecking.

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  • grumpy

    Sorry but I am a CCU trained nurse. Taking a pulse in AF is inaccurate - there is frequently a deficit between peripheral pulses and actual heart rate. The only accurate determination of pulse in AF is by calculation from the ECG.
    I think this new device is designed to detect irregular heartbeats, not determine an accurate pulse.

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  • It's always nice to express an opinion but it's even better to review the science first! The Microlife product is very accurate and specific in detecting Afib. Much better than manual pulse.....Here are the research references:

    Stergiou GS, Karpettas N, Protogerou A, Nasothimiou EG, Kyriakidis M. - Diagnostic accuracy of a home blood pressure monitor to detect atrial fibrillation. J Hum Hyperten 2009;23:654-658.
    Wiesel J, Fitzig L, Herschman Y, Messineo FC. - Detection of atrial fibrillation using a modified Microlife blood pressure monitor. Am J Hypertens
    ??2009;22:848- 852.

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