Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Thoroughly Modern Blood Pressure Monitoring

These days, doctors' offices and hospitals are filled with advanced, high-tech medical equipment. However, one device that has changed very little over the past century is the blood pressure cuff, which evaluates a person's systolic (upper number) and diastolic (lower number) blood pressures. In fact, the current device used in most clinical settings is very similar to the first blood pressure cuff created in the late 19th century. And while this blood pressure monitor—also known as a sphygmomanometer—does a decent job of determining a person's general cardiovascular outlook when used consistently, the area of blood pressure monitoring has long been due for improvement and modernization. Luckily, the makers of a device called CMI CASPro have devised an advanced, more accurate way of determining blood pressure.

Rather than monitoring blood pressure in the brachial artery in the arm, like the original device, the CMI CASPro determines the blood pressure level in the aorta which is the blood pressure that the heart “feels”. Studies have found
that central aortic systolic pressure (CASP) evaluation is the best way to determine cardiovascular risk. This just is not accurately achieved through determining the blood pressure in the arm. This is because systolic pressure, which occurs when the heart is pumping blood out, is somewhat distorted when it reaches peripheral arteries in the body

In the past, the only way a doctor could get the most accurate reading—the CASP—was through cardiac catheterization, which involves inserting a catheter with a sensor into the femoral artery in the thigh and advancing it to the heart. Needless to say, this isn't a desirable way to obtain a blood pressure reading. It's both costly and risky. The medical scientists at Save1Heart developed the CMI CASPro to provide doctors with a noninvasive, low-cost way of detecting this important reading. The device has a sensor that fits around the wrist and records pulse waves from the heart that are then evaluated by computerized mathematical models. A doctor can customize his or her treatment recommendations based on the analytics from the test.

This is all great news for patients. Cardiovascular disease is the number-one cause of death for Americans. High blood pressure is a known risk factor for this killer, as well as for other health conditions like kidney disease and dementia. So if doctors are better able to accurately and safely detect high blood pressure, treatment can be given immediately and monitored easily.

This may include weight loss, a low-sodium diet, regular aerobic exercise, reduced alcohol consumption, detoxification, stress management, supplements and medication.

At Vaughan Integrative Medicine, I am partnering with Save1Heart to offer CASP measurements using the FDA-approved CMI CASPro. Blood pressure measurements recorded by this device will be assessed by both myself and the cardiology team at Save1Heart. After evaluating CASP results, I will counsel patients on lifestyle improvements that support ideal health and blood pressure readings.

It's February; don't let Heart Month pass you by without scheduling a CASP blood pressure screening. The CMI CASPro test is available at Vaughan Integrative Medicine to the general public and our patients by appointment only. You can make an appointment by calling Chris Eller at (336) 808-3627, extension 13.

Take care of yourself,
Elizabeth Vaughan MD

1 comment:

CANS said...

If you are checking your blood pressure from home you have the choice of choosing your own monitor. You can use either an aneroid monitor or a digital one. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. An aneroid monitor has a dial gauge and your Best Blood Pressure Monitors is read by a pointer. You inflate the cuff by hand using a rubber bulb. With a digital monitor you can choose a manual cuff or an automatic one. You can read your blood pressure reading on a screen digitally as well. You want to choose the one you are more comfortable using.