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Doctors could be measuring blood pressure improperly

Pennsylvania patients who regularly have their blood pressure checked with a manual device may be at risk for a high blood pressure misdiagnosis. If patients are prescribed medication after being misdiagnosed, they may suffer from side effects without getting any benefits.

According to a Canadian study, it was estimated that about 20 percent of Canadian patients were being treated for hypertension, or high blood pressure, after their blood pressure was not measured correctly. Researchers said that the problem was due to the use of manual devices, which were still being used by more than 50 percent of family doctors. While manual blood pressure measurements are acceptable if they are taken correctly, few doctors actually use the manual devices properly.

When a manual device is used, there are many things that can go wrong. For example, a person may have his or her blood pressure checked as soon as the appointment begins. Further, using the wrong size cuff or trying to take a measurement while the person is fidgeting can throw off the numbers. As such, it is recommended that doctors use automatic devices. Although these devices are more expensive, they are far more precise and can help combat white-coat hypertension, a prevalent phenomenon that occurs around doctors.

In some cases, misdiagnosing a patient with high blood pressure results in the failure to diagnose other conditions that could potentially be life-threatening. If a patient suffers harm or experiences a worsening condition due to the misdiagnosis, a medical malpractice claim could potentially be filed against the doctor who made the misdiagnosis. An attorney may review the person's medical files and other evidence to determine if the patient has the grounds to file a claim. If medical malpractice has occurred, the attorney could assist with seeking compensation for the medical mistakes that were made.

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