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Trouble Getting BP & Pulse Measurment

Discussion in 'Problems Standing: Orthostatic Intolerance; POTS' started by Valentijn, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    I bought a battery-powered BP and pulse measuring thingy last year when I started getting dizzy while exercising (doh!) I usually get pretty normal readings when sitting and right after standing, but after 5 minutes of standing I always get an "ERROR" reading, and it looks like it's picking up my pulse very irregularly while it's inflating (it flashes each time it gets my pulse). But if I try it a 2nd or 3rd time in a row, it gives a pretty normal value. And if I wait a few minutes, it's always "ERROR" again.

    It sounds like the typical CFS circulation problems can make the pulse difficult to detect (especially when standing a bit?), but why would it get normal readings after failing a time or two with no break in between?
  2. waiting

    waiting Senior Member

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    This article may help to explain what is happening: http://www.anapsid.org/cnd/diagnosis/oi.html. It's from the Massachusetts CFIDS Association about a talk Dr. David Bell gave back in 2000, but it's been updated as recently as 2009.

    Especially see where he says "5. Orthostatic narrowing of pulse pressure:
    A fall in the pulse pressure to 18 mmHg or lower. "Usually, when the pulse pressure falls much below 20, you can't even read the person's pulse. When it falls this low, the patient is in a state of circulatory shock."

    A paragraph or so later, he talks about a BP (diastolic BP -- the lower number) falling to "0" when a patient stood up.

    So, I would guess that either of these situations could cause an "ERROR" reading. Alternatively, you might want to contact the manufacturer and ask them for a possible reason.
  3. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    thanks greatly waiting as I have the same issue as the original poster. I do know I do have severe narrowing of the pulse pressure at times as I have seen that show but didnt realise that would of been the thing giving the monitor issues..

    I knew it wasnt the BP monitor itself causing the "error" messages as I ended up testing the monitor back and forth between my nanna and I and it worked every time on her but on me.. more then half the time it didnt work.. at times I had to take mine over and over before I could get it not erroring out.

    Its kind of irronic that our BPs can be so abnormal that we even fault out monitors. (when I was in hospital the nurse blamed their monitor and went and got another one and just took my BP over and over till they got a normal reading.. then just wrote the normal reading down in their chart ignored the rest.. its stupid so they missed recognising how not normal my BP was).
  4. rwac

    rwac Senior Member

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    I wonder. Is it the doctors' laser-like death-stare on the test numbers that is keeping most of us sick ?
  5. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    Me too ... which is why I'm a little suspcicious that trying to take my blood pressure (and failing) is altering the results if I try again immediately. If I wait 5 minutes while standing, it always gives an error. If I do it immediately after getting an error, I usually get a reading, albeit with low pulse pressure (usually between 18 and 25).

    Yes! All the times nurses couldn't find my BP and kept trying til they got it. On one occasion inflating the cuff so much that there red specks of blood under the skin everywhere that the cuff had been squeezing once she took it off. I think she was a bit horrified at that :p Same problem everytime I've had blood drawn since 2006 (which was the first time I had blood drawn). Lab techs playing "hunt the vein", and treating it as a simple curiousity that they couldn't find mine without a lot of work. At least the Dutch nurse called in a more experienced nurse when she couldn't find it, instead of engaging in exploratory poking :p Then that nurse needed to wiggle the needle around a bit to find it!

    So it would be nice if nurses knew that difficult to find pulses and veins are clinically relevant and made a note somewhere when they run into that problem.

    I tested my standing BP this morning 10 minutes after waking up - 76/57 with 126 pulse. Jeez :p But 18 or 19 seems to be the lowest pulse pressure my blood pressure monitor can handle. So it's probably even lower when erroring.
  6. waiting

    waiting Senior Member

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    I wonder also if the very act of taking your BP (the cuff tightening around your arm) causes the BP to normalize somewhat (particularly when you take it a few times in a row), but after standing for a few minutes, the blood pooling occurs (that Dr. Bell talks about) and that's when the pulse pressure falls and the HR rises so much to compensate. Just a guess...
  7. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    I've got the same problem. It's a BP monitor that goes around my wrist. It also returns error time after time at exactly the moment I'd like to know what is happening. If I unstrap it and give to my husband it works perfectly for him straight away.

    I also have problems using the heart rate monitor that he uses for running. Doesn't pick up my heart at these critical times.
  8. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    I wonder how hard it is to learn to take BP manually. Maybe then we can detect the low pulse pressure that automatic cuffs either aren't picking up or are discarding as presumed erroneous readings.

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