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Blood pressure devices to prevent NHS misdiagnosis

Published on 24/08/2011
Patients thought to have high blood pressure should take home monitoring devices to reduce misdiagnosis, reports have revealed.

About a quarter of people become anxious when they have their blood pressure taken in surgery, causing a false high pressure reading. This is a phenomenon known as white coat hypertension.

Around 12 million people in the UK are officially diagnosed with high blood pressure. Drugs to treat the condition currently cost the NHS £1 billion a year, but up to three million people could be taking them needlessly or in the wrong dose.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) has produced guidelines for GPs for a more accurate diagnosis.

Nice has advised that hypertensive patients should be sent home with an ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) device. This device is designed to be worn for 24 hours and automatically take readings every half an hour, which will be downloaded onto the surgery computer.

ABPM monitoring would provide more accurate readings for those with high blood pressure as well as screening out those with white coat hypertension.

Bryan Williams, professor of medicine at Leicester University who chaired the guidelines panel, said this method gives more accurate readings.

He said: "It will ensure that those who really need treatment get treated and those who don't need treatment don't get treated unnecessarily."

Due to the expense of prescription drugs the move could save the NHS £10.5 million a year. However, the Nice guidelines are not mandatory, and GPs may not be persuaded enough to pay £1,000 per device.

Currently around one in ten GPs are already offering ABPM monitoring, but the availability of devices are limited. Patients may once again face long delays on the NHS or the possibility of misdiagnosis.

Compare health insurance policies online now to ensure you bypass NHS waiting lists to receive the latest in diagnostic tests.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2011

Categories:  Medical
Blood pressure devices to prevent NHS misdiagnosisPatients thought to have high blood pressure should take home monitoring devices to reduce misdiagnosis, reports have revealed.     tweet it on twittershare with your friends on Facebookshare with your friends on MySpaceBlog it on your LinkedIn profile

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