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The Importance of Measuring Blood Pressure in Dental Offices

Dental care professionals realize that the key component of any thorough dental hygiene appointment is patient assessment. While there are several tools used for conducting screenings and examinations for oral health, other aspects of patient health that may be related to dental heath are often overlooked. A patient's blood pressure is one of these parameters. Appropriate monitoring of blood pressure can not only improve outcomes of dental care, but also play a role in improving the overall health of patients.

Accurate Blood Pressure Measurement: The Trouble with Traditional Automated Monitors—The Need for Something New

According to the American Heart Association, nearly one third of adults have hypertension (defined as sustained high blood pressure of 140 /90 mmHg and above). Uncontrolled high blood pressure greatly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke - the first and third leading causes of death in developed nations. Because there are no symptoms, many people with hypertension do not know they have it. The only way to tell is to have an accurate check of your blood pressure.

Accurate Blood Pressure Measurement: What is it? Why is it important? Why is it so difficult to obtain a reliable measurement?

Similar to the pressure created by water flowing through a garden hose, blood pressure refers to the force exerted by circulating blood on the walls of our arteries and blood vessels. Blood pressure is commonly measured by inflating a cuff on the upper arm and watching the pressure indicated by a blood pressure gauge while listening to the Korotkoff sounds at the brachial artery with a stethoscope. The cuff must first be inflated enough to stop all the blood from flowing through the artery. Then, as the pressure in the cuff is gradually released with a valve, the occlusion of the artery is reduced. The point at which blood begins to flow again is signaled by the first Korotkoff sound. This is an indication of the peak blood pressure in the arteries and is referred to as systolic blood pressure. Continued reduction of the pressure in the cuff eventually allows the blood to flow completely unobstructed again. This point is signaled by the disappearance of the Korotkoff sounds and is considered a reliable indication of diastolic blood pressure.

The accuracy and clinical validation of the Adview® 9000

The accuracy of a blood pressure (BP) device or monitor is often determined by comparing its measurement relative to the measurement of an observer using a mercury sphygmomanometer and stethoscope on the same patient. The human observer with this setup in a controlled environment, with a meticulously prepared patient, and the practice of careful measurement is considered to be the gold standard of non-invasive blood pressure measurement. Measurements taken in this manner are the basis for the levels that are the current definitions of high BP or hypertension, 140/90, and normal BP, 120/801.

Accurate Blood Pressure Measurement: Why do monitors read high?

If you have ever used an automated monitor to measure blood pressure, you probably have encountered a reading you thought was too high. In these situations, clinicians usually take a measurement themselves using a sphygmomanometer and stethoscope to either confirm the reading or question whether the monitor is working properly. If the reading is confirmed, you and your patient may be surprised to realize that your patient’s BP is not what you expected. Alternatively, if the reading is different, you may wonder if your monitor is calibrated or operating correctly. Regardless of the situation, why is this happening at all?

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