Features December 2010 Issue

Employing Various Blood Pressure Measurements Yields Valuable Data

Measures of aortic blood pressure and pulse wave velocity provide additional information on arterial stiffness and vascular health.

We tend to think of our blood pressure (BP) as one set of numbers, but the truth is that the BP taken at your arm may be significantly different than that measured closer to the heart, called the central or aortic BP. And knowing these numbers may provide your doctor with valuable information about the condition of your vascular system. "Measurement of blood pressure has not changed in the past 100 years. We need more information about whatís going on in the blood vessels; a regular measure with a sphygmomanometer does not provide information on how the small arteries are working. Additional measurement of central or aortic blood pressure may be more sensitive markers of vascular disease, and hopefully, we can use these measures to better stratify a patientís risk of cardiovascular disease," says Mohammed Rafey, MD, Department of Nephrology and Hypertension at Cleveland Clinic.

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