Anyone knowledgable about different personal blood pressure monitors?

I track my blood pressure at home using a domestic monitor. From November 2020 until July 2022 I used an armband monitor since then I have been using a wrist monitor. Gave up on the arm band device because it produced more error readings than usable data. (Typically upto 12 error reports for a single clear reading.) Now I notice that the readings from the wrist device are significantly lower; anything up to 30mmHg. I try to take my readings at the same time of day and on the same arm but this difference, which could take me from hypertensive to normal, is intriguing.

Anyone know of peer reviewed studies in the STEM literature on the difference/reliability/etc of the two types of monitors and whether the choice of one or the other has implications for personal health and for quantified self data collection?

Hey Glimfeather,

The position of the cuff on the body, which side of the body (Right or Left) and the position your body is (standing vs sitting vs lying) can influence your BP measurements significantly. The guidelines suggest that the upper arm is more accurate ( as it is at the level of the heart) in a seated or standing position, however, as always in literature, the results are debatable.

To detect whether your BP is truly affected, I would choose your position of choice. Wait a minute in that position - take your BP on your upper arm, and then repeat the process using the wrist.

Heres some literature:

  1. Where your arm is positioned and whether you’re standing or sitting
    Both body and arm position significantly influence blood pressure measurement - PubMed
  2. BP in arms vs wrist
    The role of wrist monitors to measure blood pressure in older adults - PubMed
  3. Oscillometer measurements and accuracy.
    Accuracy and 'range of uncertainty' of oscillometric blood pressure monitors around the upper arm and the wrist - PubMed

Enjoy !

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Thanks @Darren_Bowles. I pretty much do all those things. The instructions for the wrist monitors is to position over the heart. I always sit still for at lesat 20 minutes before taking my readings.

Thanks also for the hints on the STEM papers. Only time I use Google is their Google Scholar searhes. (Normally only ever use DuckDuckGo.)

@Darren_Bowles now had an opportunity to read the results from those papers and well their conclusions are inconclusive. #2 and #3 disagree on the equivalence of upper-arm and wrist monitors!

Exactly and it’s not surprising given the range of variation of confounding variables like normal variations in arterial anatomy & peripheral vascular disease ( that’s why the 2ns study controlled for ABI index - which, on a higher level, is a tool that detects the severity/ presence of peripheral vascular disease).

What it does boil down to, when it comes to finding out the implications on your health, is finding what is the case with you, how standardised your method of taking BP is, and the devices your using.

When it comes to device, this is a decent study that looks at how accuracy is determined and can be improved with wrist devices ( although the cases are low ( n=20), likely because it involved a trip to the cath lab))

Maybe relevant: Blood pressure - Personal Science Wiki

Useful summary with some of the text clearly taken from the Wikipedia blood pressure entry Blood pressure - Wikipedia

Is the first citation.

And one of the other citations points back directly to this topic. Nice ontological problem that.

I do not know what an ontological problem is.