Doctors get higher blood pressure readings than nurses
If a new study from the University of Exeter in England is accurate, a doctor taking your blood pressure is more likely to get a higher reading than a nurse will.
The systematic review of scientific data, published in the British Journal of General Practice, involved analysis of the blood pressure levels of 1,019 patients from different settings across 10 countries. Each patient had their blood pressure taken by a doctor and a nurse during their visit. The researchers linked this to what is known as “the white coat effect,” a result of a patient’s physical response to being evaluated by a doctor. They found that when doctors took blood pressure readings, they were 7/4mmHg higher than when the same patients were tested by nurses.
Researchers say doctors should continue to measure blood pressure as part of patient exams, but not when clinical decisions about blood pressure treatment need to be made. The higher readings can tip some patients over the threshold for treatment for high blood pressure, and that could result in them being prescribed unnecessary medications that could have unwanted side effects.