[Skip to Navigation]
November 1, 1995

Measuring Blood Pressure: Which Arm?

Author Affiliations

City General Hospital Staffordshire, England

JAMA. 1995;274(17):1343. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530170023016

To the Editor.  —The article by Dr Reeves1 was very informative regarding the pitfalls of blood pressure (BP) measurement and how to optimize the accuracy of readings. Among the factors affecting accuracy, Reeves included interarm BP inequalities, but this was not discussed. I believe it is important to clarify this issue.Reeves cited a study by Hashimoto et al2 and stated that there was no significant difference in BP between the subjects' arms in that study. However, reporting the results only in this way is misleading because in that study as well as one of our own,3 many individuals (up to 23%) had an absolute interarm difference of more than 8 mm Hg in systolic BP. The highest difference in systolic and diastolic BPs was 20 mm Hg.3 Blood pressure was higher on the left arm in some individuals but higher on the right in others,