UMaine researcher explores issues with blood pressure measurement in the dental office

In recent years, health care professionals and patients have become concerned that blood pressure, as traditionally measured in the medical clinic, is not done correctly. That includes blood pressure measurement in a dental office, where it is equally important that it be done correctly, according to University of Maine researchers.

Merrill Elias, UMaine emeritus professor of psychology and emeritus cooperating professor of biomedical sciences and engineering, and Amanda Goodell, a retired research associate, both researchers affiliated with the Maine Syracuse Longitudinal Study, have studied the use of the automated wrist cuff blood pressure measurement system for routine assessment in a dental office. The wrist cuff measurement is somewhat less accurate than the arm cuff measurement system, according to the researchers, but can be adequate if used properly.

Elias and Goodall have written two journal articles to provide evidence that wrist cuff measurement, as taken in the dental office, is often not used properly: “The Need for Accurate Data on Blood Pressure Measurement in the Dental Office,” and, with Adam Davey, “The Perils of Automated Wrist-Cuff Devices and Dental Chairs in Opportunistic Blood Pressure Screening.” 

Elias also has produced a short video that includes a demonstration of the proper way to measure blood pressure with an automated wrist cuff device, and suggests some ways of achieving more accurate blood pressure measurement. Elias’ views about how blood pressure should be measured in the dental office are solely his and are not recommendations by UMaine or any other organization with which he is associated.