How to calibrate home blood pressure cuffs

Written by elizabeth jean
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If you have high blood pressure and your doctor has instructed you to monitor and record your blood pressure at home, you will need to obtain a home blood pressure monitor cuff. Monitoring your blood pressure at home may be useful for someone who has “white coat syndrome” and whose blood pressure artificially elevates during to being nervous at the doctors office.

However, you may be asking yourself, how do I know that this home machine is accurate? That’s a fair question because the clinical accuracy of the readings lies with the accuracy of the home machine.

So, how does one determine whether their home blood pressure machine is accurate? Simple. All you need to do is calibrate your home blood pressure cuff. Calibration here means to check your home blood pressure monitor's measurement accuracy with a standard (in this case the doctors). This how to will tell you what you need to do to calibrate your home blood pressure monitor and cuff so you will feel confident in its’ readings.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Home Blood Pressure Monitor
  • Pencil and Paper
  • Time to go to the Doctors

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Purchase a Home Blood Pressure Monitor. They vary in price and size. Some are bicep monitors while others are wrist monitors. You may want to check with your doctor for the type and brand that he or she recommends.

  2. 2

    Schedule an appointment with your doctor. Tell them you would like to calibrate your home blood pressure monitor.

  3. 3

    Take your blood pressure reading at your doctors office using your home blood pressure monitor. Write down the readings.

  4. 4

    Have the doctor or nurse take your blood pressure using their office blood pressure machine. Write down the readings.

  5. 5

    Repeat blood pressure readings in 15 minutes using both machines. This is optional, but is a good idea.

  6. 6

    Compare the two readings. If they are the same – great! If they are off by a couple of points- note that in your records. If the difference is substantial, you may want to return that particular blood pressure monitor machine and purchase a new one.

Tips and warnings

  • It’s a good idea to calibrate your home blood pressure monitor with that of the doctors every six months.
  • If you drop your home blood pressure machine, go back to the doctor to have it recalibrated.
  • Read the instructions on your home blood pressure cuff. Some cuffs should not be washed.
  • Make sure you purchase the appropriate cuff size for your arm.

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