Standing blood pressure test more accurate in detecting hypertension

Dec. 5, 2023
Measurements more reliable than those taken while patients are sitting, UT Southwestern researchers find.

Measuring blood pressure while patients are standing rather than sitting may improve the accuracy of readings, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers report. Their findings, published in Scientific Reports, could lead to significant improvements in early detection of high blood pressure in healthy adults.

UTSW researchers measured the blood pressure of 125 healthy patients ages 18-80 with no history of hypertension, previous use of blood pressure medication, or other comorbidities. The statistical analysis used to assess the overall accuracy of each test in diagnosing hypertension revealed that measuring standing blood pressure either on its own or in addition to sitting blood pressure significantly improved diagnostic accuracy. Researchers used several established guidelines for defining hypertension, including those of the American Heart Association.

Blood pressure was measured in three ways: through 24‐hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM), seated in the doctor’s office, and standing in the office. The sensitivity (accuracy in detecting a condition, or a “positive” result) and specificity (accuracy in detecting absence of a condition, or a “negative” result) for detecting hypertension in the seated measurements were 43% and 92%, while the sensitivity and specificity in the standing measurements were 71% and 67%.

Based on average 24-hour ABPM measurements, researchers found that 33.6% of participants had hypertension. Of those with hypertension, the average age was 55.7 years old and 57% were female adults, 55% were white adults, 29% were Black adults, 16% were Asian adults, and 16% were of Hispanic/Latino ethnicity. Of the participants without hypertension, the only significant difference in demographics observed was younger age (45.3 years old). Data from the UTSW Dallas Heart Study was used to determine blood pressure levels in the office, home, and 24-hour ABPM that are optimal for cardiovascular health.

UT Southwestern release on Newswise