We’re often asked whether wrist blood pressure monitors are accurate. They can certainly seem more attractive to use than the upper arm variety. However most doctors and nurses advise against using them. But why?
The main issue is that, compared to an upper arm monitor, the accuracy of a wrist monitor is much more dependent upon the position of your arm when you take a reading. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t be accurate. You just need to be even more careful to follow the instructions on how to use the monitor to ensure you get an accurate reading. With a wrist monitor, the most important thing is usually to make sure your wrist and arm are at the same height as your heart. Other than that, just as with an upper arm monitor, it is important to relax for five minutes before taking a reading.
The best way to choose an accurate blood pressure monitor is to look for one that has been tested by the British and Irish Hypertension Society. They have a list of monitors that they have tested here:
You’ll see that most of these monitors are upper arm ones. But there are some wrist monitors starting to appear on the list. If you can’t use an upper arm monitor for any reason then you could try one of these wrist monitors. Just remember to follow the instructions carefully to ensure you get an accurate reading.