Some wrist blood pressure monitors may be accurate if used exactly as directed. However, the American Heart Association recommends using a home blood pressure monitor that measures blood pressure in your upper arm and not using wrist or finger blood pressure monitors.
Wrist blood pressure monitors are extremely sensitive to body position. To get an accurate reading when taking your blood pressure with a wrist monitor, your arm and wrist must be at heart level. Even then, blood pressure measurements taken at the wrist are usually higher and less accurate than those taken at your upper arm. That's because the wrist arteries are narrower and not as deep under your skin as those of the upper arm.
Some people can't have their blood pressure measured at the upper arm because they have a very large arm or find blood pressure measurements painful. In these cases, measuring blood pressure at the wrist is acceptable.
It's common for blood pressure readings taken at home on any type of monitor to be different from those taken at your doctor's office. If you have a wrist blood pressure monitor, it's a good idea to take your monitor to a doctor's appointment. Your doctor can then check your blood pressure with both a standard upper arm monitor and a wrist monitor in the correct position in the same arm to check your wrist blood pressure monitor's accuracy. Also make sure to use a validated device.
March 07, 2018
- Choosing a home blood pressure monitor. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/SymptomsDiagnosisMonitoringofHighBloodPressure/Choosing-a-Home-Blood-Pressure-Monitor_UCM_303322_Article.jsp. Accessed May 21, 2015.
- Schell K, et al. Forearm and upper-arm oscillometric blood pressure comparison in acutely ill adults. Western Journal of Nursing Research. 2010;32:322.
- Khoshdel AR, et al. The impact of arm position and pulse pressure on the validation of a wrist-cuff blood pressure measurement device in a high risk population. International Journal of General Medicine. 2010;3:119.
- Fania C, et al. Validation of the A&D BP UB-543 wrist device for home blood pressure measurement according to the European Society of Hypertension International Protocol revision. Cardiology Clinics. 2010;28:571.
- Sheps SG (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 24, 2015.
- Badeli H, et al. Strategies to reduce pitfalls in measuring blood pressure. International Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2014;5(suppl):S17.
- Monitoring your blood pressure at home. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/KnowYourNumbers/Monitoring-Your-Blood-Pressure-at-Home_UCM_301874_Article.jsp#.WoRIN-R1rcu. Accessed Feb. 16, 2018.
- Thomas G, et al. Blood pressure measurement in the diagnosis and management of hypertension in adults. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Feb. 16, 2018.
- Liu ZY, et al. Validation of the G.LAB MD2200 wrist blood pressure monitor according to the European Society of Hypertension, the British Hypertension Society, and the International Organization for Standardization Protocols. Blood Pressure Monitoring. 2017;22:101.
- AskMayoExpert. Hypertension (adult). Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2017.
- Casiglia E, et al. Poor reliability of wrist blood pressure self-measurement at home; A population-based study. Hypertension. 2016;68:896.