Accuracy of Automatic BP machines? - page 3

by blackvans1234 12,933 Views | 28 Comments

Hey all, just wondering if you ever question the accuracy of the automatic blood pressure machines, especially when compared to manual bp readings. I understand that cuff fit is important, and that with manual, there may also... Read More


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    Don't trust 'em. But, that's just me... =)
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    I ONLY take manual BP's on all my patients. I work on a cardiac floor and I do not trust the automatic BP's. Many times I have a care partner come to me with a low BP, when I take it manually it's usually within normal parameters. If you have a pt. that is in A-fib/A-flutter, they have irregular beats and the automatic BP is almost ALWAYS wrong, it can not pick up on those irregular beats. I have to give a lot of cardiac meds, I take my own manual BP's because ultimately I'm the RN and I'm the one responsible if something goes wrong.
    WeepingAngel likes this.
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    I'm learning manual BP is always better, and to trust my ears instead of the machine. I use the machine as a backup, especially when I get weird BPs manually like 85/40. Turns out that patient trended in the low 90s for SBP all day.
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    I am currently in the middle of my nursing education, so I am still getting used to being 'skilled' with my skills. For routine vitals at the clinical sites, I often use the machine, but I will check with manual as well. This might be more to do with me trying to see if I'm taking manual accurately, but I do find myself questioning the accuracy of automatic machines in facilities and not just with BP. Along that line, tempanic thermometer use has me questioning even more. How accurate can those possibly be when a pt has a fever that needs to be monitored with accuracy? Even if I wanted to check with a different thermometer, the particular facility I was doing my medsurg rotation at didn't even HAVE another kind of thermometer. So, I think there is certainly validity in questioning the frequent use/reliance of automatic machinery, if only because it worries me that perhaps someday the manual options might not even be available to double check!
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    Conventional versus automated measurement of blood press... [BMJ. 2011] - PubMed - NCBI

    Here's a quick summary of the use of automatted vs manual in an office setting.
    Ayvah likes this.
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    Quote from cardiacrocks
    I work on a cardiac floor and I do not trust the automatic BP's.
    How do you handle infection prevention doing it manually? Do you just constantly scrub them with wipes? I also work on a cardiac floor, and we have disposable BP cuffs for each patient for our automatic machines, but our manual ones come with an attached cuff that you would have to reuse for each patient. We use the manual ones for checking if the machine is not registering or appears to be wrong (i.e., an obviously stable and okay pt has a BP of 40/20 or something), but we aren't supposed to use them generally because of infection control issues.
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    Quote from queenjulie
    How do you handle infection prevention doing it manually? Do you just constantly scrub them with wipes? I also work on a cardiac floor, and we have disposable BP cuffs for each patient for our automatic machines, but our manual ones come with an attached cuff that you would have to reuse for each patient. We use the manual ones for checking if the machine is not registering or appears to be wrong (i.e., an obviously stable and okay pt has a BP of 40/20 or something), but we aren't supposed to use them generally because of infection control issues.
    I always assumed it was standard practice for hospitals to have a manual cuff built into the wall behind the bed. Just have housekeeping put on a new cuff with each discharge..... Problem solved.
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    I check a manual BP if the auto BP is out of range or suspicious sounding. Lately I have noticed a lot of artificially low BPs with automatic cuffs, so it's good practice to check, particularly if giving cardiac meds.
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    Quote from BrandonLPN
    I always assumed it was standard practice for hospitals to have a manual cuff built into the wall behind the bed. Just have housekeeping put on a new cuff with each discharge..... Problem solved.
    We used to have that kind of BP cuff, but our hospital got rid of them because of concerns about infection, so now we have disposable cuffs that come sealed, and we give each patient one on admission and throw it away when they go home. Apparently the ones we had built into the wall were not disposable, and they obviously weren't going to throw away a permanent cuff with each patient! I actually thought the disposable cuffs were becoming a JCAHO standard, but maybe not--the change to disposables happened before I started working here.


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