Controversy exists in the clinical setting as to whether blood pressure (BP) should be taken on only the left arm. It is also not known whether inter-arm BP differences exist when subjects are in varying static body positions. The purpose of this study was to examine whether BP differences exist between right and left arms when male or female subjects were in different static body positions. Young (18-29 years old), healthy, athletic, male (n = 10) and female (n = 10) subjects were used to obtain BP using standard auscultation in the right and left arms in the following different body positions: standing, sitting, and supine. Respiratory rate was set at 17-23 bpm for each subject and heart rate was monitored using a pulse transducer. Neither body position nor arm used influenced systolic BP in males and females, and the diastolic pressure in females (p > 0.05). However, in males, the diastolic BP in standing position was significantly higher (p < 0.05) than in supine position both in the right arm (85 ± 3.3 mmHg vs. 74 ± 2.0 mmHg) and in the left arm (88 ± 3.0 mmHg vs.75 ± 2.0 mmHg). Our findings suggest that young, healthy, and athletic adults do not experience inter-arm BP differences and that the effect of body position is sex specific.
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Vol. 86 • No. 1