The suitability of an automatic sphygmomanometer for epidemiological work was evaluated in two studies. In the first, blood pressure measurements were made alternately on the automatic machine and on a Hawksley random zero instrument on 14 volunteers on each of four consecutive days by a single medical observer. No significant difference was found between the mean diastolic pressure obtained by each instrument but the mean systolic pressure was 5 mm higher on average on the automatic machine. In the second study, the effect of cuff position for the automatic instrument was examined. Differences between recommended and errant cuff positions of up to 4.5 mmHg were recorded but these did not reach statistical significance. These studies indicate that if used carefully this automatic instrument is suitable for survey and experimental use.
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