Simultaneous noninvasive blood pressure measurement were recorded bilaterally in 40 young and 40 elderly subjects. Overall interarm blood pressure (BP) differences for the elderly and young groups were similar, the absolute interarm differences being for systolic blood pressure (SBP) elderly: 4.2 mmHg (95% CI 3.1-5.3 mmHg); young 3.3 mmHg(2.6-4.1 mmHg); diastolic blood pressure (DBP) elderly 3.6 mmHg(2.8-4.4 mmHg), young 2.7 mmHg(2.0-3.3 mmHg). However, the range of interarm BP differences was wide. Four (10%) of the elderly had an interarm SBP difference > 10 mmHg compared to one (3%) of the young group. Interarm DBP differences > 8 mmHg were found in three (8%) of the elderly and in none of the young group. Although age does not affect mean interarm BP differences, clinically important interarm BP differences exist in both young and elderly subjects. Blood pressure should be measured in both arms of all patients at initial assessment to avoid potential problems with misclassification of blood pressure status.
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