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J Hum Hypertens. 2012 Dec;26(12):706-10. doi: 10.1038/jhh.2011.97. Epub 2011 Nov 3.

Impact of calibration on estimates of central blood pressures.

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Department of Medical Research, University Hospital of Odense, Svendborg Hospital, Svendborg, Denmark.

Erratum in

  • J Hum Hypertens. 2012 Dec;26(12):744.


Using the Sphygmocor device it is recommended that the radial pressure wave is calibrated for brachial systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP). However it has been suggested that brachial-to-radial pressure amplification causes underestimation of central blood pressures (BPs) using this calibration. In the present study we examined if different calibrations had an impact on estimates of central BPs and on the clinical interpretation of our results. On the basis of ambulatory BP measurements, patients were categorized into patients with controlled, uncontrolled or resistant hypertension. We first calibrated the radial pressure wave as recommended and afterwards recalibrated the same pressure wave using brachial DBP and calculated mean arterial pressure. Recalibration of the pressure wave generated significantly higher estimates of central SBP (P=0.0003 and P<0.0001 at baseline and P=0.0001 and P=0.0002 after 6 months). Using recommended calibration we found a significant change in central SBP in both treatment groups (P=0.05 and P=0.01), however, after recalibrating significance was lost in patients with resistant hypertension (P=0.15). We conclude that calibration with DBP and mean arterial pressure produces higher estimates of central BPs than recommended calibration. The present study also shows that this difference between the two calibration methods can produce more than a systematic error and has an impact on interpretation of clinical results.

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