How accurate are the BP machines from your ... - AF Association

AF Association
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How accurate are the BP machines from your local chemist?


I purchased a digital BP/Pulse checker. The type with a cuff for the arm, from the local Boots and it seems to be fairly accurate on pressure having checked it against the one at my GP's. However when it comes to the pulse rate I have made an assumption that 199 is the default error rate. I don't think it goes any higher. Most of the time that's the reading I get and I am pretty sure it's not correct. In fact as it's working a little heart shows each pulse and with me it misses quiet a few and then I get the 199 reading. Occasionally i do get a reading of 74 or 84 but only occasionally. Just of a matter of interest does anyone else use one of these and have similar readings?

10 Replies

Almost the same question as a previous post. These machines are unable to accept AF so go into error code. Most won't even give a BP reading. Sorry you may have wasted your money there.


rjr681 in reply to BobD

Hi Bob

It gives me a BP reading so not a total loss. ( 2 posts within 2 mins about the same thing does AF join minds?)


Sorry to be the bearer of more bad news but measurement of BP is achieved by 'listening' to the pulse during the pressure changes at the cuff. If the pulse reading is unreliable so will be the the BP reading. While in AF both these measurements need to be done by the old fashioned, manual method.

There's always ebay!


I get the same. My BP machine works OK if I keep my arm at a specific height, but tried three ways to measure heart rate when in arrhythmia and basically a complete waste of time. Wore two monitors once out of interest, when I had heart wobbles, one went straight up to 200 and stuck there, the other went down! An EP at the Patients Day explained why they won't work, basically (I think) he said because they can't tell what is a beat and what isn't. Not 100% certain about that but certain he said they won't usually work when in AF.

Before I had my heart op, I had a very noisy pulse and heart beat apparently. Most medical staff found it difficult to get an accurate BP reading and a doctor once told me that I shouldn't let nurses take it as they wouldn't understand what they were listening to. I was also told that the home BP machine wasn't very good n my particular case. However, the current cardiologist likes me to take some readings before medical appointments as I get terrible white coat syndrome and my BP goes up. Useful as a general guide I think. As far as the pulse is concerned, I have a pulse oximeter as well, to measure SATS. The pulse readings on the BP machine are nearly always higher than the pulse oximeter machine. Agree with those who say that too much measuring can be bad.

Well it looks as though BP accuracy is not all that good then. I do get readings that seem to be what I would expect. Lower when resting etc. so something is sensing something. How do they work out if the tablets I take for High BP are working or not? My GP uses the old method but the practice nurse uses a digital one. This really confirms my last post. "Go on holiday" for as long as you can and have a break from it. Let the professionals make the decisions and have faith in them.

I have a cuff type BP machine and it is fine at reading my pulse when I am having an A/F episode. It has a squiggle that shows up next to the pulse reading when I am in arrhythmia. Sometimes in does go into ERROR but I just retake it - no problems. Where did I get it - Lidl of course, price if I remember correctly was £9.99.

On its accuracy I am not too sure but I use it as a guide and can tell if my BP is higher than normal (or lower) and it keeps a 60 day record which is useful as a diary of AF episodes.

I recommend my reader and if and when Lidl are selling them again I recommend people to buy one.

Thanks Soupersue

You made me have a closer look at mine and I have a little heart that flashes on and off as it reads the pulse and I can see as it misses a beat or two. What that tells me I don't know other than it's erratic.


Any monitoring equipment like this is next to useless if you are in AF for all the reasons stated above. Doctors always use a stethoscope as they take a reading. Don't despair! Keep your cuff machine and look forward to sometime when you get into NSR....then it works a treat!

I was told the ones on the arm are more accurate than those on the wrist but more money.

Be Well

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