"Blood Pressure Monitor" by Medisave UK is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Where You Take Your Blood Pressure Matters

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: DaiWai Olson, PhD, RN Professor of Neurology and Neurotheraputics UT Southwestern Medical Center

Dr. Olson

DaiWai Olson, PhD, RN
Professor of Neurology and Neurotheraputics
UT Southwestern Medical Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: This study resonates across nursing. Kat Siaron is a Neuroscience nurse who had questions about the ‘best’ location for checking blood pressure. Like so many studies this started with a clinical question: “does it make a difference where you check the blood pressure?” She applied for a nursing research fellowship and was one of 6 nurses selected. She spent about 3 months reading articles on blood pressure and looking to see if there are any similar studies. After confirming that this has not been done, she submitted her study for approval from the Institutional Review Board and started data collection.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: The main finding in this study is that there is no single site that could be considered the most accurate. We had thought that we would find that one site was always higher or lower than other sites but that was not the case. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Probably the biggest takeaway is that we need rethink blood pressure. Clearly, where you take your blood pressure matters. Other factors have also been studied. We know, for instance that body position, heart rate, and even stress can cause fluctuations in blood pressure. Readers should consider taking multiple measurements from both arms, at multiple different times during several days to really get an understanding of what their blood pressure is really like.

Unfortunately, in the intensive care unit, we don’t have the luxury of time. We often need to react to the blood pressure right away.  

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: The most important next step is that the study needs to be replicated. We would love to secure the funding to replicate the study in a larger sample. Ms. Siaron is already planning a follow up study. 

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Yes, 2020 is the Year of the Nurse and I would really like to stress that this is nursing research in the purest form. Kathrina is an ICU nurse who completed this study in the ICU. Taking blood pressures is a quintessential part of nursing care. Nurses around the globe are becoming more and more engaged in research and studies like these are helping to improve patient care everyday.

This study was funded by an Agnes Marshal Walker Foundation Research Grant.


Siaron, K.B., Cortes, M.X., Stutzman, S.E. et al. Blood Pressure measurements are site dependent in a cohort of patients with neurological illness. Sci Rep 103382 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-60414-7



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Last Updated on April 15, 2020 by Marie Benz MD FAAD