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Blood-Pressure App"s Readings Not Accurate, Says Study

Depending on some smartphone apps for accurate blood-pressure readings might not be so smart, suggests new research.

The study evaluated the Instant Blood Pressure app (AuraLife), which was used by adults—over half of whom had hypertension. The study hypothesis was that the absolute mean difference would be less than 5.0 mm Hg between the app and standard BP devices. However, the mean differences were actually 12.4 mm Hg for systolic measurements and 10.1 mm Hg for diastolic readings.

In addition, the sensitivity for hypertensive measurements was a low 0.22, which means that "four-fifths of individuals with hypertensive BP levels will be falsely reassured that their BP is in the nonhypertensive range," write the investigators, calling Instant Blood Pressure "an unregulated" mobile health (mHealth) app.

The findings were presented at the American Heart Association Epidemiology and Prevention-Lifestyle (EPI|Lifestyle) 2016 Scientific Sessions and simultaneously published online March 2, 2016 in JAMA Internal Medicine.