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Measurement of lying and standing blood pressure in hospital

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

Shelagh O'Riordan, Naomi Vasilakis, Labib Hussain, Rowena Schoo, Julie Whitney, Julie Windsor, Khim Horton, Finbarr Martin

Original languageEnglish
Pages20-26
Number of pages7
Volume29
Issue number8
JournalNursing Older People
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sep 2017

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Abstract

Measuring lying and standing blood pressure (BP) is an important clinical observation in older hospital inpatients. This is because a drop in BP on standing, known as orthostatic hypotension (OH) is common in older people and in acute illness and, therefore, in hospital patients. OH increases the risk of a fall in hospital. Simple measures such as changes in medication or rehydration can reduce this drop in BP and reduce the risk of falls. In a recent snapshot audit in England and Wales of 179 acute hospitals and 4,846 patients aged 65 years and over admitted with an acute illness, only 16% had a lying and standing BP recorded within 48 hours. A review of the literature showed that existing advice on how to measure and interpret lying and standing BP was often not appropriate for use on the ward with frail and unwell inpatients. An online survey of 275 clinicians' usual practice highlighted variation and the need for clarity and pragmatism. In the light of the survey findings, a clinical guide has been developed on when to measure lying and standing BP, how to measure it and what is considered a significant result.

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