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New Welch Allyn Blood Pressure Averaging Technology Compensates for Misdiagnosis of Blood Pressure and White Coat Effect

Mon, 11/19/2012 - 12:11pm

Welch Allyn, a leading global provider of frontline medical products and solutions, recently introduced Office Profile, a new enhancement for the Welch Allyn Connex® Vital Signs Monitor (VSM) which provides a unique, adaptable blood pressure averaging program that helps healthcare providers conduct more precise blood pressure measurement in patients than traditional devices. The new Office Profile improves existing technology by offering clinicians the option to take numerous automated blood pressure readings in succession and then average them for a more complete, accurate result.

“Misdiagnosis of hypertension can occur for multiple reasons,” said Shawn St. Pierre, senior manager of Vital Signs Marketing at Welch Allyn. “In-office measurements can vary based on technique of the examiner, equipment being utilized for blood pressure measurements and attributes of the patient’s health, as well as activities the patient has participated in during the day of the exam. Even the most seemingly inconsequential factors can cause variability in systolic and diastolic blood pressure such as talking during the exam or placing the cuff over the patient’s clothing. Averaging multiple readings provides a more precise measurement that factors in these anomalies.”

A broad range of studies reviewed by the National High Blood Pressure Education Program show average blood pressure measurement errors between 5-15mmHg.*1 Given that the classification of patients as pre-hypertensive or hypertensive has as little as 20mm Hg difference between them, it is becoming increasingly important to get the most accurate blood pressure readings in order to reduce the risk of misdiagnosis.

The White Coat effect is described as the transient alerting reaction which causes elevated readings that is invoked by in-office blood pressure measurement. In a study done by Mancia, Paroti and Pomidossi titled the Alerting Reaction and Rise in BP during Measurement by Physician and Nurse, a physician’s presence was observed to affect blood pressure readings by as much as 22/14mm Hg. Norman Kaplan’s text on Clinical Hypertension recommends that “in order to reduce the alerting reaction, patients should relax in a quiet room and halve multiple readings taken with an automatic device.” (Myers et al., 2009)

In response to the prevalence of multiple factors that can lead to misdiagnosis or inaccurate readings, The American Heart Association recommends two blood pressure readings be taken with a one minute interval between them and the average recorded.

The new Welch Allyn Office Profile was created to allow the physician to configure his/her preferred averaging protocol for their practice. It also connects directly to an electronic health record (EHR) and reduces the time spent on manual transcription and the possibility for transcription errors.

“Since a significant portion of hypertension diagnosis is based on measurements relative to established blood pressure ranges, measurement accuracy is critical to a proper diagnosis,” added St. Pierre. “In particular, the most sensitive range for diagnosis is between 120 mmHg and 140 mmHg systolic where a patient can be classified as normotensive, pre-hypertensive, or hypertensive. Blood pressure averaging helps minimize the alert effect (tendency for the first reading to be high) and the observer effect associated with white coat hypertension, and yields a more accurate representation of the patient's true blood pressure.”

Effective October 1, 2012, all Connex VSM 6300 series have Office Profile pre-loaded on the device. Current customers with Connex VSM 6400 or 6500, can receive the new Office Profile feature by contacting Welch Allyn Customer Care at 1-800-535-6663. Subscribers to the Welch Allyn Partners in Care Comprehensive Service Plan will also receive a free 9-cell battery, providing longer-lasting time between charges, with the Office Profile upgrade.

Welch Allyn Connex® Vital Signs Monitor
The Connex Vital Signs Monitor is a full-color, touch screen vital signs device providing automatic measurements such as heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, pulse oximetry, weight and Total Hemoglobin; manual parameters such as respiration, height and pain level; and modifiers such as body position, O2 therapy details and others—all vital signs can be obtained in as little as 30 seconds. The Connex VSM can be configured for spot-check, monitoring with intervals or triage modes and is ideal for sites using an EMR or HIS (hospital information system). The Connex VSM significantly reduces time spent on manual transcription and instances of human error and has the ability to automatically transfer data to an EMR. Plus, it offers the ability for patient vital signs to be viewed anytime, anywhere on a network. The customizable monitor supports both Welch Allyn and its’ manufacturing partners’ technology, and its’ open architecture makes it a great investment, as upgrades and new technology can be added as they become available.

About Welch Allyn
Welch Allyn is a leading global healthcare company that offers a complete range of digital and connected diagnostic solutions that help reduce risk and enhance workflow in a variety of clinical settings. Founded in 1915 and headquartered in Skaneateles Falls, NY (USA), Welch Allyn is a family-owned business that employs nearly 2,700 employees in 26 different countries. The company specializes in helping doctors, nurses and other frontline practitioners across the globe enhance care by developing innovative products, breakthrough technologies and cutting-edge solutions that improve patient outcomes, safety and satisfaction. More information about Welch Allyn and its complete line of connected products and solutions may be found at www.welchallyn.com. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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