Saturday, November 3, 2007

This presentation is part of : Healthcare Practice Initiatives
Implications for Best Practice: A Comparison of Forearm and Upper Arm Blood Pressure Readings in Healthy Adults
Nancy J. Crigger, PhD, MA, ARNP, BC, Mindy Fortune, BA, Katie Jeselnik, BA, Sarah Johnson, BA, Jiayu Zhao, BS, Laura Wiley, Amber Smith, Erica Houghton, Roy Hamilton, and Jill Cates. Nursing, William Jewell College, Liberty, MO, USA
Learning Objective #1: Discuss the signficance, study method, and findings of this research.
Learning Objective #2: Relate the findings to implications for practice education and future research.

        Many healthcare institutions take blood pressures in upper and lower arms without documentation between the two locations. Since diagnoses of hypotension and hypertension are based on blood pressure readings, significant differences in location for blood pressure readings are clinically important. Previous research on location comparisons studied were of heterogeneous groups of hospitalized patients and findings of these studies are inconsistent.  This research compared blood pressure readings to determine if a measurable significant difference existed between the upper arm and the forearm in healthy adults.  We hypothesize that a significant difference exists in blood pressure readings taken in the forearm versus readings taken in the upper arm. 
        A sample of 100 healthy male and female volunteers, age 18 to 45. Analyses revealed that the average blood pressure readings for the systolic and diastolic readings were higher in the forearm than the upper arm by approximately 6 mmHg.  A statistically significant difference existed in both systolic [t-Test (paired) = 8.969; df=99; sig=<.0001 (2- tailed)] and diastolic [t-Test (paired) =9.167; df=99; sig=<.0001(2=tailed)].
         The difference of 6 mmHg, if supported with additional research, suggest that readings of upper arm and forearm cannot be treated interchangeably. The findings of this study should be replicated with varied groups and use sample selection with greater generalizability so that parameters for populations can be determined.