08/02/2002 - News

Avoiding 'white coat' hypertension

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD


Doctors are not the best people to assess blood pressure, say UK researchers.

White coat hypertension is a well-known problem - it means that your blood pressure may go up when it's measured by a doctor (the 'white coat') but be lower if a practice nurse measures it, or if you measure it yourself. Researchers in Southampton, England, have been looking at the white coat effect in a group of 200 patients with high blood pressure (hypertension). Eight doctors and three practice nurses also took part in the study.

More reliable readings were obtained when measurements were made by the nurses, or the patients themselves, at home. Doctors can prescribe or change medication, say the researchers, but they should not be the ones to take the blood pressure measurements if they want to make the right decisions on treatment.


Lancet 3rd August 2002

Created on: 08/02/2002
Reviewed on: 08/02/2002

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