Difference in blood pressure 'could be heart disease indicator'

30 January 2012

People with a difference in blood pressure between their right and left arms could be at increased risk of dying from heart disease, new research has suggested.

Published in the Lancet, the study by the University of Exeter Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry could strengthen calls for both-arm blood pressure checks to be carried out as standard.

The researchers found that a difference in systolic blood pressure of 15 mm of mercury or more between the arms was linked with an increased risk of peripheral vascular disease - the narrowing and hardening of arteries that supply blood to the legs and feet.

However, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation Natasha Stewart, said further research is required to evaluate the clinical necessity of measuring blood pressure in both arms.

"It's too early to say whether this idea could become part of standard healthcare practice," she commented.

The study reviewed 28 different papers covering difference in systolic blood pressure between arms.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

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