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Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 18534
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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My wife's bp just checked 157/91 left arm, and 140/97 left

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My wife's bp just checked 157/91 left arm, and 140/97 left arm ($60 portable machine). She usually runs about 130/80. She has had a calm day, just could "feel" it. Do we need to go to ER or call our regular DR in the morning?
Thank you!
***** ***** & Desa Ballard ***@******.***
Thank you for using JustAnswer. I will be glad to assist you today.

No, it is not necessary to be seen in the emergency room for these blood pressure readings. The blood pressure readings that would warrant being seen emergently would be if the blood pressure were 180/110 and the blood pressure persists at this level despite several minutes of resting.

The difference in blood pressure between the two arms also does not warrant an emergency evaluation if there are no symptoms of arm pain or weakness.

It is important to note that certain automated blood pressure machines are inaccurate in certain people. It is not that the machine is bad; it is that the machine cannot account for normal variations in human anatomy. If a live person (nurse, doctor, etc.) is taking the blood pressure, the stethoscope can be adjusted until the clicking in the artery can be heard well. An automated machine will listen in one place, and while that one place will work for the vast majority of people, there are some people in whom the anatomy makes the automated blood pressure machine inaccurate. And this potential for inaccuracy is true for any blood pressure machine of any cost. In our hospital, the nurses are routinely instructed to take a manual blood pressure whenever a blood pressure machine gives a reading that appears significantly different than what is usually obtained in that person.

Therefore, it is fine to wait and call her doctor's office tomorrow and relay what blood pressure readings have been obtained. It is fine to continue taking the blood pressure readings until then, and in the unlikely event that the blood pressure increases to the worrisome threshold, then she can be seen at that time.

If you have any further questions, please let me know.
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