Determining which automatic digital blood pressure device performs adequately: a systematic review

Y Wan, C Heneghan, R Stevens, Richard McManus, A Ward, R Perera, M Thompson, L Tarassenko, D Mant

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

42 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study is to systematically examine the proportion of accurate readings attained by automatic digital blood pressure (BP) devices in published validation studies. We included studies of automatic digital BP devices using recognized protocols. We summarized the data as mean and s.d. of differences between measured and observed BP, and proportion of measurements within 5 mm Hg. We included 79 articles (10 783 participants) reporting 113 studies from 22 different countries. Overall, 25/31 (81%), 37/41 (90%) and 34/35 (97%) devices passed the relevant protocols [BHS, AAMI and ESH international protocol (ESH-IP), respectively]. For devices that passed the BHS protocol, the proportion of measured values within 5 mm Hg of the observed value ranged from 60 to 86% (AAMI protocol 47-94% and ESH-IP 54-89%). The results for the same device varied significantly when a different protocol was used (Omron HEM-907 80% of readings were within 5 mm Hg using the AAMI protocol compared with 62% with the ESH-IP). Even devices with a mean difference of zero show high variation: a device with 74% of BP measurements within 5 mm Hg would require six further BP measurements to reduce variation to 95% of readings within 5 mm Hg. Current protocols for validating BP monitors give no guarantee of accuracy in clinical practice. Devices may pass even the most rigorous protocol with as few as 60% of readings within 5 mm Hg of the observed value. Multiple readings are essential to provide clinicians and patients with accurate information on which to base diagnostic and treatment decisions. Journal of Human Hypertension (2010) 24, 431-438; doi: 10.1038/jhh.2010.37; published online 8 April 2010
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-438
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Human Hypertension
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2010


  • validation
  • blood pressure
  • sphygmomanometer


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