Wrist blood pressure monitors: Are they accurate?

Some wrist blood pressure monitors may be accurate if used exactly as directed and checked against measurements taken in a medical office. For the most reliable blood pressure measurement, the American Heart Association recommends using a monitor with a cuff that goes around your upper arm, when available.

Some people with very large arms may not have access to a well-fitting arm cuff at home. If so, measuring blood pressure at the wrist may be OK. Wrist blood pressure monitors also may be an option for people who had lymph nodes removed from the armpit.

Using a wrist blood pressure monitor at home often gives falsely high readings due to poor positioning. If you use one, place it directly over the wrist artery, called the radial artery, where you can feel the pulse. Don't place it over clothes. Keep your wrist at heart level. Be still during the test and don't bend the wrist. Bending the wrist can cause incorrect readings.

It's common for blood pressure readings taken at home on any type of monitor to be different from those taken at a medical office. If you have a wrist blood pressure monitor, take the device to your healthcare professional's office. Your care team can compare the blood pressure in your arm and wrist to make sure your device is working well.

Last Updated Jul 6, 2024


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